Renowned Chinese Pro-Democracy Activist Released from Prison

April 28, 2007 Updated: April 28, 2007

Yang Jianli, a renowned Chinese pro-democracy activist and chairman of the “Foundation for China in the 21st Century” was released on April 27 after serving his full term in prison. Yang's family have asked senior commentator Lin Baohua to issue a statement, urging the international media and all people who care about the current human rights situation in China to closely monitor the actions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) toward Yang after his release.

When interviewed by The Epoch Times on April 25, Lin was able to confirm information he has received from Yang's family and other sources that Yang has expressed his intention that “I will absolutely not board an airplane after my release. I will go to Shandong Province to pay tribute to my dead father.” Yang also stated that he would not sign any letter of assurance to the CCP regarding the purpose of making the trip to visit his father's tomb. His family is concerned that the CCP will forcefully deport Yang immediately after his release.

Yang Had Previously Been Released

Lin disclosed that last September, the CCP had released Yang prior to the end of his full sentence. The CCP had sent Yang to the airport with plans to deport him to the U.S.

During his time in prison, Yang's 90-year-old father had traveled to China from the U.S. to issue an appeal to the CCP regarding his son's release. Unfortunately the old man passed away while in Shangdong. Yang deeply regretted that his imprisonment had prevented him from fulfilling his filial responsibility and attending his father's funeral. Yang requested permission from the CCP to visit his father's grave prior to his return to the U.S. This simple request by Yang was rejected by the CCP. When Yang refused to board an airplane to the U.S., the CCP sent him back to prison.

Appeal to All Concerned People to Pay Attention to This Case

Lin suggested that the CCP's release of Yang prior to the end of his scheduled prison term was unable to make him give up his determination to visit his father's grave and fulfill his responsibility as a dutiful son. Therefore, now that he has served his full term in prison, it is reasonable to expect that he will not board an airplane to the U.S. without first returning to his hometown and visiting his father's grave. Reliable sources have confirmed that this is indeed Yang's intent.

Lin expressed his concern regarding Yang's future. “Very likely, the two sides will still have conflicts,” said Lin. “How the CCP will behave after Yang's release is very difficult to predict. Perhaps they will treat him similar to how they treated Wei Jinsheng and other renowned pro-democracy activists and directly escort him to the airport and deport him. Perhaps they will treat him in the same way as how Falun Gong practitioners were treated in Hong Kong and put him in a sack and throw him onto an airplane. Or perhaps they will drug him and then forcefully send him to the U.S. All these scenarios are possible.”

As a good friend of Yang and a member of “Foundation for China in the 21st Century,” Lin urged the international media and all people who care about the current human rights situation in China to closely monitor this matter, and help stop any potential mistreatment of Yang by the CCP.

Yang graduated from the Department of Math of Beijing University. He came to the U.S. to study during the 1980's. After the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989, he became increasingly involved with the Chinese Democracy Movement. He was once elected Vice-Chairman of the “Overseas Chinese People's Alliance of Democracy and Peace.” Currently, Yang holds the position of Chairman of the “Foundation for China in the 21st Century” in U.S. Yang has obtained two doctorate degrees from UC Berkeley and Harvard University. Yang presently holds a U.S. green card.

Because Yang has been actively involved in the activities supporting democracy in China, he was listed on the blacklist of the CCP as someone to be refused permission to enter China. In 1996 and 1999, he twice applied to return to China but his applications were rejected. In April 2002, in an effort to personally evaluate the Chinese Workers' Movement, Yang entered China under a false identity. He was arrested and detained in Kunming, Yunan Province on April 27. The CCP charged Yang with “illegal entry into China” and sentenced him to five years in prison.

The U.S. House and Senate have passed a resolution bill urging the CCP to release Yang unconditionally.