Pro-democracy leader fears cancer and seeks return to Taiwan

Pro-democracy leader fears cancer and seeks return to Taiwan

Wang Dan, a leader of China's 1989 pro-democracy movement, has asked the Taipei government to help him arrange a trip back to Taiwan from the United States for a medical checkup for a suspected brain disease.

Wang, writing on his Facebook page, says he suspects he has a brain tumour, having suffered from dizziness for months.

The pro-democracy activist, who is currently in the United States, says doctors have advised that he have a thorough checkup to determine the cause of the dizziness.

Wang is a political exile living in the United States, but has been teaching at universities in Taiwan for several years.

He says he cannot immediately return to Taiwan for the checkup because US immigration authorities are still renewing the document that he will need to re-enter the US He expressed the hope that Taipei can help expedite the process.

Wang also defended himself from criticisms that he does not deserve the medical services in Taiwan.

He says he has been teaching in Taiwan as a foreigner, paying income taxes of 18 per cent, and that he has never missed a single payment to the National Health Insurance (NHI) programme.

"And I've been working hard here (in Taiwan) teaching your kids. I honestly deserve the NHI benefits," he wrote in a Facebook message.

He also thanked people who have shown support and concern for his health.

Wang, who holds a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University, currently teaches at National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu.

He led thousands of pro-democracy students who occupied Tiananmen Square in Beijing for weeks before a bloody crackdown by the communist government.

Wang was arrested and jailed. He was released in 1993, only to be jailed again in 1995. He was released again and allowed to go the United States in 1996.

Doctors in Taiwan said they would be unable to determine the cause of Wang's dizziness through a mere description of the symptoms. A thorough checkup will be needed to determine the cause, the doctors said.

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