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Human Rights in China Statement on Dr. Wan Yanhai's Release

September 20, 2002

Human Rights in China (HRIC) welcomes the release of public health and AIDS activist Dr. Wan Yanhai. This release following a relatively short period of detention is a victory for the international AIDS activist and human rights communities, Dr. Wan’s friends, family, colleagues, and supporters. Dr. Wan through his courage, persistence, and commitment over the past decade, has made an invaluable contribution to putting the human face of AIDS in China on the international map. HRIC urges ongoing monitoring to ensure that Dr. Wan and his colleagues are able to continue their important work inside and outside of China.

At the same time, Dr. Wan’s detention and his release reflects the arbitrary power and unfettered discretion of the Chinese State Security apparatus. Dr. Wan’s detention is not the first time the Chinese government has invoked the State Security or State Secrets Law to chill and suppress legitimate efforts by Chinese citizens to address the critical issues facing Chinese society, such as the current AIDS crisis. Many other Chinese citizens remain in detention for alleged violations of vague provisions of these laws. For example, Li Hai, a graduate of Beijing University Philosophy department, is still serving his nine-year sentence for his “crime” of collecting a post-1989 prisoner list of democracy advocates. HRIC urges the release of all individuals detained for peacefully exercising their rights of freedom of expression and association.

For more information, contact:
Xiao Qiang or Sharon Hom (English) 212-239-4495
Liu Qing (Chinese) 212-239-4495