My day job has been really hectic for the last month so I haven’t been able to put as much time on this blog. I even had to travel for work for the last few days. I thought I would have time to post on the blog through the business center at the hotel but I ended up corresponding on work email most of the time and barely had enough time to check my personal email to keep up with AI. I will play catch up with a few blog posts.

I like to start with the good news. It has been reported that Yang Jianli was released near the end of last week. Yang is a US permanent resident. He first came to the US for his studies in 1986. He returned to China briefly in 1989 to participate in the Tiananmen Square protests. Between 1991 to 2001, he earned a PhD from UC Berkeley in Mathematics and another PhD from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 1990, he started the Foundation for China in the 21st Century which promotes democratic reform in China and it produces the electronic publication, Yi Bao Zhou Kan.

Due to his political activities, the Chinese consulate refused to renew his Chinese passport. Yang decided to visit China in April 2002 using a friend’s passport and he was detained when he tried to board an internal flight. He was charged with illegal entry and “espionage” in July 2003. He was sentenced to five years in prison in May 2004. While in prison, he reportedly suffered a stroke and he applied for medical parole. His family was not allowed to visit him until December 2004 and Yang was experiencing numbness on his left side.

Numerous appeals for his release were sent to the Chinese authorities by the faculty of Harvard University, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, the US House of Representatives and the US Senate. In the end, Yang served the entire term of his sentence.

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