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Yang Chunlin: A Chronology

November 16, 2011

July 29, 1956

Born in Jiamusi, Heilongjiang Province.


Summoned and detained four times by authorities for participating in a hunger strike initiated by Beijing rights defense lawyer Gao Zhisheng.

August 15, 2006

Traveled to Beijing to continue promoting the rights defense movement after Gao Zhisheng was taken into custody; described himself as “China’s democracy movement volunteer.”

January 2007

Organized the “We Want Human Rights, Not the Olympics” petition campaign with Yu Changwu and Wang Guiling. In six months, Yang collected as many as 10,000 signatures of farmers who lost their land, laid-off workers, and others.

June 2, 2007

Sent a letter signed by 2,973 farmers who lost their land in Jiamusi to a foreign human rights organization to help increase international pressure on the Chinese government.

July 6, 2007

Criminally detained by police without proper legal and procedural protections.

August 13, 2007

Formally arrested on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.”

August 6–14, 2007

Severely tortured, including being chained to a metal bed for nine days, for refusing to admit guilt.

September 5, 2007

Awarded the Citizens Fight against Tyranny Award by the Asia-Pacific Human Rights Foundation.

February 19, 2008

Tried at the Jiamusi Municipal Intermediate People’s Court. Brought into the courtroom in shackles and leg irons and forced to wear a black hood. No verdict announced.

March 5, 2008

Beaten by police at the detention center.

March 24, 2008

Convicted of “inciting subversion of state power,” sentenced to five years in prison and two years of deprivation of political rights. At the end of the hearing, Yang was tasered by a bailiff when he tried to speak to his mother.

March 26, 2008

Met with lawyers Li Fangping and Zhang Jianguo, and decided to appeal his conviction and sentence. Stated his intention to continue promoting democracy in China because “establishing democracy is the only way to eradicate persecution of speech.”

September 19, 2008

Ruling dated August 20, 2008 announced by the Heilongjiang Provincial Higher People’s Court, upholding Yang’s conviction and sentence.

September 25, 2008

Transferred to Xianglan Prison in Heilongjiang Province to serve his sentence. Projected release date: July 5, 2012.