Democracy proponentSzeto Wah

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A schoolteacher and primary school principal in Hong Kong, Szeto was a critic of British rule and organized teachers into one of Hong Kong’s most powerful unions. He was a natural to be a darling of the Beijing government when Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule in 1997. But Szeto was outraged by the government crackdowns on protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989, where hundreds of the peaceful protesters were killed. He broke ties with Beijing and openly criticized the Communist Party, and became the founding Chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, now the largest grassroots pro-democracy advocacy group in Hong Kong. Every year, the Alliance attracts tens of thousands to an annual vigil on the anniversary of the massacre to protest China’s one-party government. Szeto founded the United Democrats of Hong Kong, which evolved into Hong Kong’s Democratic Party — which resulted in him being banned from entering mainland China for life. Szeto died January 2 from lung cancer. He was 79.

From This is True for 2 January 2011