Chinese Authorities Free Dr. Jiang Yanyong from House Arrest

March 24, 2005

Chinese authorities have released retired PLA general and physician Dr. Jiang Yanyong from house arrest, according to Western news media and NGOs, including Reuters and the China Information Center.

The septuagenarian Dr. Jiang first gained notoriety in April 2003, when he sent a letter to Western news media that detailed how Chinese public health authorities were covering up the SARS outbreak. Jiang subsequently wrote another letter to key Chinese government and Communist Party officials in which he called on the Party to reassess the official verdict on the "Beijing Spring" democracy movement of 1989. The letter was posted on the Internet in early March 2004, and Chinese authorities questioned Jiang shortly afterward.

According to Human Rights in China, authorities detained Jiang and his wife on June 1, 2004. Jiang's wife was released on June 15. During his detention, Jiang reportedly was subjected to "education" sessions to change his view on the 1989 Tiananmen movement and the government’s response. Public security authorities never formally arrested him or charged him with a crime. Jiang was released from detention in mid-July 2004, but remained under house arrest.

Reuters cited an unnamed family member as saying that public security officials had placed 10 restrictions on Dr. Jiang, including curbs on speaking without permission to Chinese and foreign reporters, traveling overseas, and attending activities at the invitation of foreign groups or individuals. These restrictions apparently were enforced strictly during late 2004 and early 2005.