The warden of Zhejiang Number One Prison in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province has approved the release on medical parole of the physicist and political activist Wang Youcai. Mr. Wang said goodbye to his family, and, accompanied by an official of the US government, departed Shanghai for medical treatment in the United States on March 4, 2004. He will arrive in San Francisco the same day.
Wang Youcai’s release comes after months of quiet diplomacy by the US State Department and the American Ambassador in China, Clark Randt, Jr., who has listed Wang as one of seven priority cases in his recent speeches. The release follows an urgent appeal for medical parole made by Congressman Jim Leach (R-Iowa), Chairman of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific, and Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on International Economic Policy, Export, and Trade Promotion. Congressman Leach and Senator Hagel are co-chairmen of the Congressional Executive Commission on China. Mr. Wang’s case has also been raised by other members of Congress, by foreign governments, and by non-governmental human rights organizations.
Wang Youcai is 37 years old. Together with Xu Wenli (released on medical parole in December 2002) and Qin Yongmin (now serving a 12-year prison sentence for endangering state security in Hanyang Prison, Hubei Province), Wang Youcai founded the China Democracy Party (CDP) in June 1998, shortly before the visit to China of President Bill Clinton. Wang was the youngest and most active leader of the party. He declared the establishment of the Zhejiang Branch of the CDP on June 25, 1998 and is credited with drawing up the group’s constitution and coming up with the idea of attempting to legally register provincial branches. He was briefly detained in July 1998 and subsequently released. He was detained again on October 10, 1998 and tried for the crime of subversion on December 17, 1998 by the Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court, which sentenced him on December 21, 1998 to 11 years in prison with three years subsequent deprivation of political rights. His sentence was due to expire on October 9, 2009. His release on medical parole comes five and a half years before the end of his sentence.
Wang was one of the student leaders of the 1989 political disturbances in Beijing. He was detained and tried in December 1990 by the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court, which sentenced him to four years in prison for the crime of counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement. That sentence was subsequently reduced by one year, and he was paroled in November 1991. Wang, who had been a graduate student of physics at Beijing University when the 1989 disturbances broke out, joined the Eastern Telecommunications Company in Hangzhou after his parole.
After entering prison for the second time in 1999, Wang was reported to have suffered from bronchial disorders and tracheitis. He was recently diagnosed with myocarditis. Attempts by the prison to treat his illnesses have not been successful, and, in accordance with Chinese regulations, his application for parole to seek medical treatment in the United States has been approved.
The Dui Hua Foundation is pleased to have contributed to Wang Youcai’s release on medical parole and thanks the Chinese government for this humanitarian gesture.
The Dui Hua Foundation
San Francisco, California
March 4, 2004