Who is Li JinJin? Tiananmen Square Protester and Chinese Dissident Stabbed to Death in NYC Office

A Chinese dissident who was jailed for two years in China after participating in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement was killed on Monday in his office in New York.

Li JinJin, 66, had settled in New York City and worked as an immigration lawyer after seeking asylum in the United States, according to the police.

Li Stabbed by Woman He Refused to Take on As a Client

Li JinJin
Li JinJin Twitter

Li was allegedly stabbed to death in his office by a 25-year-old woman whom authorities identified as 25-year-old Xianing Zhang. She stabbed him in the body and neck in his office at about 11:40 a.m., and though medics rushed him to Elmhurst Hospital, he could not be saved. She has since been arrested and was charged with murder and weapon possession.

Chuang Chuang Chen, the CEO of the China Democracy Party, and lawyer Wei Zhu, a friend of Li's, both told the New York Daily News that the killing might have stemmed from Li's refusal to take Zhang on as a client. Xianing had allegedly caused a scene at the office last week and returned with a knife on Monday.

"I can't believe it. She not only destroyed his life, but the hope of our community," Wei (Wayne) Zhu told the newspaper. "He wanted to realize democracy in China. He will never realize that dream."

Attacker was Mentally Unstable

Li's friends speculated the woman may have been mentally unstable if he wouldn't take her case — and that he rarely turns down a client in need.

The alleged attacker came to the U.S. in August on an F-1 student visa to go to school in Los Angeles. "But she didn't attend. She came straight here. She came directly and applied for asylum. She claimed she was raped by police in Beijing who sent her to a mental facility," Chuang told New York Daily News.

'There Was So Much Blood'

Su Xu, 45, who works as a receptionist in Li's office, described the deadly attack's aftermath, and the cries of two office workers, "Call 911! Call 911!"

"I went to help them. The lawyer's white shirt was covered in blood. He was unconscious. There was so much blood. Too much blood," Xu said. "When she came in, the woman was so quiet, and then she attacked the lawyer. Last week she was here and she struck him, she attacked him. We warned them not to let this woman into the office."

Li JinJin
Li JinJin at the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Twitter

Li was arrested just days after the June 4, 1989, massacre, when hundreds of people were killed in the square and surrounding areas by the Chinese army. He was jailed for 22 months and sought asylum in the U.S. in 1993.