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Yu Dongyue is a sad example of human rights in China. Perhaps because he was a journalist, his case has been more closely watched and widely reported than some of the others. While his behavior was seen as highly objectionable, even by fellow demonstrators, in most countries it would have been treated as vandalism or the equivalent; and punishment would have been much less harsh.
Reports differ as to dates of Yu Dongyue's two sentence reductions. The original Wikipedia article used years most commonly cited in news reports. However John Kamm of the Dui Hua Foundation in San Francisco, CA, USA (对话 Duìhuà), reports sentence reductions authorized in 2000 and 2003; see the publication referenced. The prison history of Yu Dongyue can be difficult to trace from records available outside China; reports sometimes confuse spellings of place names.
Many organizations have been concerned about Yu Dongyue and his fellow prisoners, although the 2005 award from Wei Jingsheng Foundation has been the major publicly disclosed financial assistance. In particular, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, PEN International, Reporters sans Frontières, Dui Hua Foundation, China Support Network and others repeatedly called for his release on humanitarian grounds. Major newspapers and broadcast media produced many stories about his imprisonment and treatment.
The link to the South China Morning Post is a copy on another site. The original link has failed. However, as of February, 2006, the original page can still be viewed in Google cache. Browse www.google.com, search on "Stain that Remains" "Yu Dongyue" with the quote marks as shown, and you will see an item "FORUM-ASIA: News and Media: In the News." Click on Cached. This is a detailed report that also relates a conversation with Wu Pinghua, mother of Yu Dongyue. The link for the 1992 New York Times story is a page quoting it that may not carry the full story; it's an aggressive page that will splash itself all over your screen.
Also described by the South China Morning Post although not mentioned in the Wikipedia entry is the dire plight that befell Lu Decheng, who was arrested after he protested the prison treatment of Yu Dongyue. He later travelled to Thailand, where he was again arrested and has had to fight deportation. As of January 24, 2006, Radio Free Asia reported he was still in jail there. The day after Yu Dongyue was released, Reporters Without Borders said that Yu Zhijian had been arrested and charged with "subversion" for taking part in a hunger strike protesting treatment of a human rights lawyer in China. Contributions are being solicited to help Yu Dongyue by PEN China. Contributions are being solicited to help Lu Decheng by China Support Network.