Kong Qiuhua (孔秋华), wife of Yang Yunbiao (杨云彪), a land rights defender from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, told Human Rights in China (HRIC) that her husband was released on April 23, 2012, five months ahead of the scheduled release date (September 23, 2012). Yan was sentenced to three years in prison on conviction of "sabotaging production and business" (破坏生产经营).
This was Yang’s second imprisonment. Previously, in September 2007, Yang was sentenced to two years following his attempt to prevent developers from demolishing his home. He received an early release in January 2009. In September 2009, he was detained by the authorities when he went to Beijing to petition for compensation for his demolished home and the return of forcibly requisitioned land to the inhabitants of Dazhuqiao Village in Hangzhou. He was sentenced in August 2010.
Kong told HRIC that during detention Yang was subjected to torture aimed at extracting confessions from him. “For more than one month after he first arrived in the detention center, his hands were cuffed and his feet shackled 24 hours a day—even when he was eating, sleeping, and going to the bathroom. Because he could not turn when he was lying down, his feet and legs were swollen all the way up to his knees," Kong said. She added that Yang is suffering from severe rheumatoid arthritis, and that “his health has completely collapsed.”
However, according to Kong, Yang is trying hard to recover since his release and plans to continue petitioning. She said, "In order to protect our rights, we have embarked on a long road with no return. We filed a lawsuit but lost; we petitioned but were arrested and sentenced. We have abided by the law, but those who broke the law remain unpunished."
In Henan Province, dissident Liu Yonggen (刘永根), was released on September 16, 2012, after completing a three-year sentence. Liu, a former member of the Party’s Commission for Discipline Inspection in Xin County, Henan, was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” in 2010, after publishing articles critical of the Chinese authorities.
Liu told HRIC that his health is fine, and that he will rest for a period of time before deciding what he will do next. He said that in prison he was aware that many people were concerned about him and advocated for him. He was touched by the many postcards he received, and is grateful for the support that everyone has given him.
For more information on Yang Yunbiao, see:
- HRIC: Timeline: Human Rights Defenders (August – November 2009), CRF No. 4 2009
- Writer Lü Gengsong Released from Prison; Refuses Conditions of Deprivation of Political Rights, August 8, 2011
- Take Action in Year of the Rabbit!, Feb. 1, 2011