Yang, a Tiananmen Square activist in 1989, came to the United States, earned two Ph.D.s (Ph.D., Political Economy, Harvard University and Ph.D. Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley), and then founded the Foundation for China in the 21st Century. Given his political activism, he was blacklisted by the government of the People's Republic of China, who also refused to renew his passport.
Before and during Yang's imprisonment
Yang returned to China in April 2002 on a friend's passport to view labor unrest in northeast China. He was detained when trying to board a domestic flight. Although Freedom Now typically would not take up an illegal entry case, since his initial detention, Yang has been held incommunicado by the Chinese in violation of their own and international law. His wife and children as well as his extended family were denied access to Yang and were concerned for his health and safety while he was in prison.
On May 28, 2003, United Nations working group on arbitrary detention ruled that Yang Jianli has been held by the Chinese government in violation of international law. Same year June 25, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.Res.199 by 412-0 and the U.S. Senate introduced S.Res.184.
On August 4, 2003, the United States called on China to free Yang. "We've raised the case repeatedly with senior Chinese officials, and we urge that Dr Yang be released and allowed to return to his family here in the United States," US State Department deputy spokesman Philip Reeker said.
On December 8, 2003, A letter from Harvard University Law School with 29 faculty signatures were sent to Wen Jiabao via Chinese Embassy via FedEx. Two days later, Another letter from Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government and Medical School with 78 faculty signatures were sent to Wen Jiabao via Chinese Embassy via FedEx.
On April 26, 2004, Members of Congress held Press Conference to commemorate the second year anniversary of Yang's detention. 67 legislators issued the warning in a letter to Hu as they marked the second year in detention of Yang Jianli. The US embassy in Beijing meanwhile has spoken directly with the Chinese government about Yang's case, Republican Party lawmaker Christopher Cox said, citing Vice President Dick Cheney.
Same year on October 6, 21 U.S. Senators and 85 U.S. House of Representatives wrote a petition to Hu Jintao to grant Yang parole.
On June 15, 2005, a bipartisan group of 40 U.S. Senators (including Jon Kyl, Barbara Mikulski, Hillary Rodham Clinton, John McCain, Ted Kennedy, and Bob Dole) sent a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao urging Yang's release.
On April 10, 2006, 119 US lawmakers urge Bush to raise Yang Jianli's case. Same year September 3, Yang Jianli was released on condition that he must leave from China immediately. But he insisted that he return to his hometown to sweep his father's tomb first. As a result, he was sent back to jail from the airport.
On April 27, 2007, Yang was released from Chinese prison, but was not allowed to leave China. On August 19, 2007, he was finally allowed to return to the United States.
Reminded of his experience with the June 4, Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 for freedom of speech and democracy, Yang's recent article in the Washington Post shortly after his return to United States reflects his vivid observation of the 2007 Burmese anti-government protests, spiritually coined as Saffron Revolution, including China's 'parasitic relationship with Burma' and the genuine will of freedom loving intellectuals around the world condemning the current brutal oppressions in Burma.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yang Jianli.|
- Chinese democracy movement
- List of Chinese dissidents
- Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
- China's Century of Humiliation - Documentary Film features Yang Jianli
- Yang Jianli Website
- Foundation for China in the 21st Century
- China-theDocumentary.com features a short video of Yang Jianli