A pro-democracy activist in Chongqing, China, who is known for giving public speeches in support of recognising the contributions of China’s then Kuomintang government in the Sino-Japanese War, has gone missing. The disappearance comes as Beijing prepares for a military parade this week to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender.

Han Liang, whose father was a KMT officer, has been missing since August 26, according to a report by Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao.

Han Liang in a 2013 street speech. Photo: Youtube
Han Liang in a 2013 street speech. Photo: Youtube

Han’s friend Xie Dan, a fellow activist, told Ming Pao that he contacted local police to report Han as missing but officers would not handle the case because he was not Han’s immediate family.

The 65-year-old Han was taken away by police earlier this year after he gave a speech on a Chongqing street to commemorate former leader Hu Yaobang, whose death triggered the mass pro-democracy student movements in 1989.

Han Liang giving a speech in April this year to . Photo: boxun.com
Han Liang giving a speech in April this year to mark the 26th anniversary of the death of Hu Yaobang. Photo: boxun.com

Han is divorced, has no children and his parents have both passed away, Ming Pao said.

Han’s disappearance came as Beijing put in an all-out effort to ensure the victory day parade on Thursday goes smoothly. A Chinese film recently came under fire for trying to exaggerate the role of the ruling Communist Party in fighting the Japanese occupation of parts of China between 1937-1945.

However, Xie does not think the central government gave an order for Han to “be made disappeared.” Beijing does recognise the KMT’s role in World War II and former KMT soldiers have been invited to watch the parade, Xie said. It was probably the local government’s doing, Xie told Ming Pao.

During the Sino-Japanese War the KMT army suffered heavy losses fighting the Japanese. It later lost control of the country to the Communist Party and retreated to Taiwan in 1949.

Calls made to Han by HKFP were not connected.

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.