Yang Tianshui

Yang Tianshui

Yang Tianshui, born Yang Tongyan, is currently serving a 12-year prison term after being convicted of “inciting subversion of state power.”

Yang, a well-known journalist, participated in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. The following October, Yang quit his job to focus on pro-democracy activities, helping found the China Democracy Federation in 1990.

On June, 1, 1990, Yang was arrested and, in 1992, sentenced to 10 years in prison. After his release in 2000, Yang continued to advocate for democracy.

From Dec 24, 2004 to Jan. 24, 2005, Yang was placed under criminal detention by the Nanjing police on the suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.”

On Dec. 23, 2005, Yang was detained without a warrant and held incommunicado at Dantu District Detention Center in Zhenjiang, in eastern China’s Jiangsu province. His family didn’t receive official notice of his arrest and whereabouts until Jan. 27, 2006.

On May 16, 2006, after a clandestine trial, he was sentenced by the Zhenjiang Intermediate Court to 12 years in prison and four years’ deprivation of political rights. He is currently in Nanjing Prison.

Yang was the 2008 recipient of the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award.

Yang was born on April 12, 1961, in Jiangsu. His daughter is currently studying in America.


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