Xiong Yan (dissident)

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Xiong Yan
Xiong image taken by Voice of America
Native name
Born (1964-09-01) 1 September 1964 (age 55)
China Shuangfeng, People's Republic of China[1]
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1994[2]–1996[3]
1996–2003 Army Reserves
RankUS-O4 insignia.svg Major[5][6]
UnitFort Bliss
Warrant Officer Career College, Fort Rucker
1st Cavalry Division
Battles/warsOperation Iraqi Freedom
Other workStudent protest leader

Xiong Yan (Chinese: 熊焱) is a China-born naturalized American. He was a dissident involved in Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[7] Xiong Yan studied at Beijing University Law School from 1986–1989. He came to the United States of America as a political refugee in 1992, and later became a chaplain in U.S. Army, serving in Iraq.[4][8] Xiong Yan is the author of three books, and has earned six degrees.[5]


Growing up in Hunan, he moved to Beijing to pursue graduate level studies in law at Beijing University.[9] He was a probationary member of the Chinese Communist Party.[10] While at Beijing University, he was a member of Caodi Salon, which Liu Gang had organized.[11]

Yan was a student leader during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[9] At one point, he called himself "general commander".[12] After the crackdown at Tiananmen Square, he was placed on China's most wanted list.[13][14] Captured in late June 1989 at Datong,[13] he was returned to Beijing under armed guard of hundreds of soldiers.[15] Afterwards, he was detained for 19 months at Qincheng Prison without being charged with a crime.[5][8]

After his release, Yan's academic credentials were stripped from him, and he was unable to obtain identification.[2][9] During this period he converted to Christianity having met a member of an underground church.[16] He fled mainland China in May 1992.[9] After being granted political asylum he moved to the United States in June 1992, initially moving to the Los Angeles area.[17] He remains a fugitive of mainland China.[18]

After leaving China[edit]

Moving to Boston, he studied English at Harvard University and was accepted into its divinity school but declined its admission.[19] He later attended Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary;[10] eventually he earned a doctorate from the same seminary.[19] In 2005 in The Epoch Times, he announced that he had withdrawn his membership of the Chinese Communist Party.[20] He is still active in the overseas China democracy movement.[21] In 2009, he made a trip to Hong Kong to attend a candlelight vigil on the June 4 anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown.[22] It was estimated that 150 thousand people attended the vigil.[23] This was the first time for him, within a 17-year time span, to return to China since 1992.[18]

In 2010, Chai Ling and he were panel members at a discussion on China's One-child policy held at Rayburn House Office Building.[24] In 2015, after receiving word that his mother's health was failing, Yan appealed to mainland China to be allowed to return to see her before she dies;[25] he was detained when trying to cross into China from Hong Kong, and was unable to see her before she died.[26] In 2017, when a United Kingdom diplomatic cable was declassified, which estimated that about 10,000 civilians were killed, Xiong agreed with the account.[27]

Military service[edit]

Yan went on to join the United States Army.[2] By 1999, he was a sergeant in the Army Reserves, and working on his second bachelor's degree, studying at the University of North Carolina.[28] Serving eight years in the Army Reserves, he was commissioned as an officer in 2003.[4] He serves as a Protestant chaplain of the Evangelical Church Alliance denomination.[19] In 2010, he was a chaplain at the Warrant Officer Career College on Fort Rucker.[4] In 2014, Yan was stationed at Fort Bliss.[19]

Yan served two tours in Iraq.[29] Xiong has considered running for Congress in the future, after he retires from the Army.[25] In 2017, Xiong was stationed in Hawaii.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Xiong is married to Qian Liyun.[1] She was arrested along with Shen Tong due to activity relating to the Democracy for China Fund in 1992;[31] they were released and sent to the United States.[32] In the United States, Liyun also joined the Army.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Asia Watch Committee (U.S.) (1 January 1994). Detained in China and Tibet: A Directory of Political and Religious Prisoners. Human Rights Watch. p. 474. ISBN 978-1-56432-105-3.
  2. ^ a b c Beck, Simon (8 January 1995). "Concern grows over secret ban ; Rights chief puts exiles on agenda". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 2004. Retrieved 16 April 2015. Xiong Yan, 31. Former student leader. Arrested in Beijing and served two years in jail before leaving China in 1992. Now in US Army. Chair of the Chinese Freedom and Democracy Party.
  3. ^ "Tiananmen, 15 Years On". Human Rights Watch. 2004. Retrieved 16 April 2015. He served two years, 1994–96, in the U.S. army before immersing himself in a divinity school doctoral program.
  4. ^ a b c d C. Todd Lopez (4 June 2010). "Chaplain remembers Tiananmen Square on anniversary". Army News Service. United States Army. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  5. ^ a b c "Chaplain (Major) Xiong Yan's Bio" (PDF). Committee Repository. United States House of Representatives. 30 May 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Chaplain promotion list for majors announced". Army Times. 3 March 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  7. ^ "Report to Congress Concerning Extension of Waiver Authority for the People's Republic of China". The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States. U.S. Government Publishing Office. 28 May 1993. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  8. ^ a b Mosher, Stacy (26 May 2004). "Tiananmen's Most Wanted—Where Are They Now?". Human Rights in China. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d McMillan, Penelope (29 June 1992). "Chinese Dissident Holds Fast to Ideals : Protest: Despite beatings and imprisonment, student leader seeking asylum in U.S. remains committed to China's pro-democracy movement". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  10. ^ a b Andrew, Jacobs (4 June 2014). "Tiananmen's Most Wanted". New York Times. Retrieved 17 April 2015. A graduate law student at Peking University and a probationary Communist Party member in 1989, Mr. Xiong was among those chosen to negotiate with the government.
  11. ^ Dingxin Zhao (5 December 2008). The Power of Tiananmen: State-Society Relations and the 1989 Beijing Student Movement. University of Chicago Press. p. 137. ISBN 978-0-226-98262-5.
  12. ^ Dingxin Zhao (5 December 2008). The Power of Tiananmen: State-Society Relations and the 1989 Beijing Student Movement. University of Chicago Press. pp. 175–176. ISBN 978-0-226-98262-5.
  13. ^ a b Repression in China Since June 4, 1989: Cumulative Data. Human Rights Watch. 1 January 1990. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-929692-74-6.
  14. ^ "Record Turnout At Hong Kong Tiananmen Vigil". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Reuters. 4 June 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2015. "Hong Kong is a part of China and can influence China more than any country, more than any place," said Xiong, who was one of 21 people placed on Beijing's "most wanted list" in 1989.
  15. ^ Zhang Boli (27 May 2003). Escape from China: The Long Journey From Tiananmen to Freedom. Simon and Schuster. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-7434-3161-3. They carried the story on TV of his being sent back under escort to Beijing. The hundreds of helmeted soldiers carrying rifles and ammunition seemed shadowed by this heroic man as he stepped fearlessly off the train.
  16. ^ Wiser, Daniel (30 May 2014). "Tiananmen Square Witnesses Push for Human Rights, Democratic Reforms in China". Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  17. ^ Holley, David (13 July 1992). "30 Chinese Dissidents Reportedly Arrested". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  18. ^ a b Leitsinger, Miranda (4 June 2009). "One of Tiananmen's 'most wanted' returns to China". CNN. United States. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
    "Xiong Yan". Nine to Noon (Podcast). Radio New Zealand. 4 June 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  19. ^ a b c d Brown, Wendy (4 September 2014). "From Tiananmen Square to Fort Bliss: Bliss chaplain knows spiritual fitness". Bugle. Fort Bliss, Texas. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  20. ^ Yan, Xiong (1 June 2005). "Xiong Yan Withdraws from the CCP". Epoch Times. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  21. ^ New York Democracy Activists Commemorate Anniversary of June 4th Incident Archived September 14, 2006, at the Wayback Machine Voice of America
    "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 September 2006. Retrieved 16 February 2007. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  22. ^ "Memory of Tiananmen burns brightly in Hong Kong, 2009". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. 4 June 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
    Ian Jeffries (23 July 2010). Political Developments in Contemporary China: A Guide. Routledge. p. 1251. ISBN 978-1-136-96519-7.
    Cha, Ariana Eunjung; Ng, K.C. (5 June 2009). "Tiananmen Anniversary Muted in Mainland China". Washington Post. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  23. ^ Wang, Tina (4 June 2009). "Struggle Against Forgetting June 4". Forbes. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
    "Slideshow Hong Kong Remembers 1989". Frontline. WGBH Educational Foundation. 7 June 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  24. ^ Philips, Michelle (2 June 2010). "Women forced to abort under China's one-child policy". Washington Times. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  25. ^ a b Shu, Jeff (14 April 2015). "Former Chinese Protester Seeking Emergency Return Home". VOA News. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  26. ^ C.K.; Mudie, Luisetta (8 July 2015). "Former 1989 Student Leader Calls On Beijing Allow Him to Attend Mother's Funeral". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  27. ^ Ping, Lin; Mudie, Luisetta (21 December 2017). "Chinese Army 'Spared No-one' in 1989 Mass Killings in Beijing: UK cables". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
    "Tiananmen Square massacre cable makes chilling '10,000 killed' claim". Newshub. New Zealand. 25 December 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  28. ^ Singer, Rena (3 June 1999). "Tiananmen Students Continue Fight In Exile Many Are Preparing To Return One Day To China To Work To Promote Democracy". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  29. ^ David Aikman (27 March 2012). Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming China And Changing the Global Balance of Power. Regnery Publishing, Incorporated, An Eagle Publishing Company. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-59698-652-7.
  30. ^ Yan, Xiong (14 July 2017). "Footsteps in Faith: There is power in positive thinking". Hawai'i Army Weekly. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  31. ^ "Beijing Charges Dissdent with 'Illegal Activity'". Deseret News. Utah. Associated Press. 3 September 1992. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
    Holley, David (1 September 1992). "Dissident Detained in China : Arrest: The case of Shen Tong, recently arrived from exile in the United States, could become an issue in the two countries' relations". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  32. ^ Asia Watch Committee (U.S.) (1 January 1994). Detained in China and Tibet: A Directory of Political and Religious Prisoners. Human Rights Watch. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-56432-105-3.
  33. ^ Bob Fu; Nancy French (1 October 2013). God's Double Agent: The True Story of a Chinese Christian's Fight for Freedom. Baker Publishing Group. p. 175. ISBN 978-1-4412-4466-6.

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