I dream of a day in China
when the ideas of freedom, democracy, human sympathy, tolerance, and equality
have pervaded people's hearts and minds and have radically transformed the patterns
of social life. When that day comes, we can cease our tears, forget every painful
memory, and watch China advance toward a magnificent and brilliant new day.
If we all work hard for that day to come, it will, I believe, come.
-Wang Dan at a Press Conference on April 23, 1998
In 1989, Wang Dan was a 20-year-old history student at Beijing University. That year he headed China's most wanted list after he helped lead the Tian An Men Square protests. He was arrested and jailed for almost four years. In this time, he continued to fight for a democratic China, and published his works abroad. In 1993, he was released just in time for China's bid for the 2000 Olympics. Unfortunately, the Olympics went to Australia. In 1995, Wang was detained and held without charge for 17 months.
He was formally arrested in October of 1996 and sentenced to 11 years in prison. In 1997, Jiang Zemin visited President Clinton in Washington, where Clinton reportedly asked for the release of Wang and Wei Jinsheng, another dissident. Wei was exiled to the US in November of 1997, weeks after Jiang visited Washington. In 1998, Wang was exiled to the US on medical parole. Upon coming to the US, he pursued a Masters Degree at Harvard University, while staying active in China's fight for democracy and human rights.
Online News Hour: Wang Dan -- April 27, 1998