Congress condemns China for detaining activist


The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The House unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday that condemns China for detaining Boston-area scholar and activist Yang Jianli and demands his release. Two senators introduced a similar measure.

"I was really touched," said Yang's wife, Christina Fu, who has not heard from her husband in more than a year. "I think it really showed a strong message to the Chinese government that American leaders really care about human rights and individual rights."

Lawmakers said the resolution may have little effect, but agreed the best way to gain Yang's release is to keep addressing the issue.

"We want to let the people in China know we're still interested," said Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass. "I'm not convinced this does anything, but I know doing nothing, doesn't."

The House resolution "condemns and deplores the incommunicado detention of Dr. Yang Jianli" and it urges China to consider the implications of its actions on its broader relationship with the United States. It also urges the U.S. government to make Yang's release "a top concern."

Yang, a 39-year-old mathematician and economist from Brookline, Mass., is a Chinese citizen with permanent U.S. residency. He was taken into custody in April 2002, for traveling in China with false papers. Yang founded the Boston-based Foundation for China in the 21st Century, and was meeting with democracy advocates there.

This month, a U.N. committee ruled that Yang's detention violates international law because Chinese authorities failed to give him a fair trial or access to a lawyer.

The Senate resolution was introduced by Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Az., and Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.




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