Yang Tongyan ( a.k.a. Yang Tianshui 1961-2017)
Yang Tongyan (杨同彦, a.k.a. Yang Tianshui 杨天水), a freelance writer and democracy veteran, has died aged 56 on 7 November 2017. In the past 11 months, at least three prisoners of conscience and political prisnoers including Peng Ming and Liu Xiaobo in China died in custody.
Yang suffered from tuberculosis, diabetes, nephritis and high blood pressur since his first imprisonment. Yang's family applied for his medical parole again and again since 2009 but the prison authority refused the requests.
Yang was released on medical parole on 16 August 2017, following his diagnosis of a brain tumour, four months before his completing sentence. Yang was denied adequate medical treatment by the Chinese authorities while he was not been allowed to travel abroad for treatment either.
Yang was a longtime dissident and author of numerous political essays advocating for democracy and political reform. Between 1990 and 2000, Yang was imprisoned for ten years for organizing the China Democratic League (中华民主联盟). Yang’s articles from 2002 to 2005 were cited as evidence and used to convict him. Arrested again in December 2005, Yang served a 12-year sentence for ‘subversion’ in connection with his writings.
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