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Committee on Human Rights
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Chinese Medical Doctor Wan Yanhai Released
September 23, 2002
Dr. Wan Yanhai was freed from detention on Friday, September 20, 2002, 26 days after he disappeared from the streets of Beijing. In press interviews following his release, Dr. Wan has said that he was released after he confessed to revealing state secrets. He reportedly has acknowledged that he broke the law by electronically distributing a Chinese government document detailing the government's knowledge of the spread of HIV through contaminated blood in Henan province. According to the Washington Post, Dr. Wan said, "The government was very forgiving. They released me. As of now, I will not be charged. That could change, of course." While Dr. Wan's family has told the press that he plans to spend more time in the United States now—his wife is a student in California—he has reported that he intends to continue his work in China advocating for increased AIDS awareness and treatment options for those who have contracted the virus.
We would like to thank the many correspondents and Network members who wrote letters to the Chinese authorities about Dr. Wan in response to our Action Alert. Dr. Wan's "disappearance" on August 24 prompted widespread appeals for his release from the international medical community, AIDS organizations and researchers, human rights groups, and many other members of the international community.