Chinese Physicist Wang Youcai Released from Prison
March 5, 2004
On Thursday, March 4, 2004, Chinese physicist and democracy advocate Wang Youcai was released from prison and immediately flown to the United States. It has been reported that he was recently diagnosed with a heart ailment, which prompted the Chinese government to approve his request for medical parole. Mr. Wang had already served more than half of an 11-year prison sentence for his peaceful efforts to openly register the opposition China Democracy Party (CDP).
As a founder and chief organizer of the CDP, Mr. Wang—together with 13 others—submitted an application to register the CDP in Zhejiang Province in late June 1998, in accordance with Chinese law which dictates that all independent groups must be registered. Four days later, in contravention of Chinese law, he was detained. (Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution states that “citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.”) The police held him for seven weeks and threatened him with further jail time if he continued his efforts to organize the CDP. On November 2, 1998, Mr. Wang was detained again and, shortly thereafter, charged with “conspiring to subvert the government” for writing in the CDP manifesto that opposition politics was the only way “to eliminate tyranny,” organizing a meeting of CDP supporters in July 1998, and sending party materials abroad. Three weeks after his arrest, he was brought to trial. The proceedings were closed to outside observers, and Mr. Wang was forced to defend himself. He was sentenced to 11 years’ in prison. Amnesty International considered Mr. Wang to be a prisoner of conscience.
Mr. Wang served more than five years of his sentence. He was held in Zhejiang No. 1 Prison in Hangzhou City, Zhejiang province, in a cell with 15 common criminals. In recent years Mr. Wang’s wife had repeatedly requested that he be granted medical parole in view of his deteriorating health. Her requests went unanswered for some three years, until his release this month. Mr. Wang was one of seven political prisoners whose cases were raised repeatedly by U.S. Ambassador to China Clark Randt, Jr. in talks with the Chinese government during the past year. Many appeals for Mr. Wang’s release on medical grounds have been made in recent years, including by U.S. members of Congress, foreign governments, and human rights organizations.
For more detailed information on Mr. Wang's case, please see his case summary.