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Letter to Jiang Zemin from the parents of imprisoned dissident Wang Dan

February 24, 1998

Chairman Jiang Zemin,


Our son Wang Dan was sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment for the crime of "plotting to subvert the government" by the Beijing Intermediate People's Court in October 1996. The trial proceedings of this case were unjust, lacking the factual basis required by law.

Wang Dan is a young person who is twenty-nine years old. His two prison sentences have seriously damaged his health. From 1989 to today, he has successively suffered pharyngitis, inflammation of the prostate, gastsric neurosis, dizziness, headaches and other illnesses. Since June of last year we and Wang Dan himself have appealed to the relevant offices to request medical parole for a physical examination and treatment, but to this day we have not received any response.

Wang Dan is serving his sentence in distant Jinzhou of Liaoning province. The two of us were employed as a Beijing University professor and a researcher at the China Revolutionary Museum, respectively. We are both over sixty years old and have already retired. His mother is physically weak and suffers from many illness, but each month she disregards the length of the journey and visits Wang Dan. If things continue in this way, we will not be able to shoulder the burden--physically, emotionally or economically. Several times we have written letters to the judicial departments asking them to take note of our difficulty as parents, and asking that Wang Dan be transferred back to Beijing. Wang Dan does not have the heart to have his parents be exhausted by such shuttling about and has also requested that he be transferred to Beijing to serve his sentence. But to this day these pleas have brought no results.

During our most current visits with Wang Dan, he has told us that his sight has deteriorated. His vision is blurred. Each day he gets only two hours of sleep. According to a doctor's explanantion: the deterioration of sight, accompanied by headaches can indicate the immediate possibility of a brain tumor. Such circumstances require the prompt medical examination of the brain. Wang Dan has already suffered headaches for almost a year. Several times the two of us and Wang Dan himself have requested that brain scans and other related tests be performed, but none have yet been undertaken. Now, his sight has further worsened. We are extremely worried.

We are writing to you today with the hope that you can be motivated by the spirit of tolerance and humanitarianism and instruct the necessary offices to provide Wang Dan with a comprehensive medical examination of the brain as soon as possible. Furthermore, we hope that you can save our son's life by granting him medical parole. We anxiously await your response.

Very respectfully yours,

Wang Xianzeng
Wang Lingyun
February 20, 1998