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6/11/03 - CHINA SHOULD FREE YANG JIANLI - 2003-06-12

Despite a ruling of the United Nations, the Chinese government is detaining Yang Jianli, a Chinese citizen with permanent U.S. resident status. Mr. Yang was arrested in April 2002, after he returned to China using another person’s passport. Chinese officials had repeatedly refused to renew Mr. Yang’s own passport.

Mr. Yang arrived in the U.S. in 1985 to study. In 1989, he returned to Beijing to support the peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations that were brutally crushed by the Chinese government during the infamous Tiananmen Square massacre. Since then, Mr. Yang has lived in Boston, Massachusetts, where he is a mathematician and economist. He heads the Foundation for China in the 21st Century, a group that advocates democracy for the world’s biggest Communist country.

The Chinese government has held Mr. Yang for more than a year without allowing him to see his family or his lawyer. His case was taken up by the U-N Human Rights Commission’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. It found that China failed to file formal charges against Mr. Yang, failed to acknowledge his arrest formally, failed to give him access to a lawyer, and failed to release him after thirty-seven days -- as required by Chinese law when no warrant is filed.

U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says that the Chinese government clearly has deprived Mr. Yang of due process of law:

“This arrest and detention contravenes the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We are particularly disturbed now by China’s public rejection of an accepted international process and the findings of the independent and impartial panel of jurists.”

When will the Chinese government release Yang Jianli and allow him to return to his wife and children in Boston?