While the Chinese Communist Party has been in the business of persecuting independent thinkers for decades, there tend to be a few wiley rascals who just won’t learn. These so-called “bad elements “ tend to be a thorn in Beijing’s backside on the worst of occasions, usually when a foreign dignitary is coming to town. Even though many of these “subversives” most certainly have opinions about the up-coming visit of President Obama to the PRC, no one had the guts to write him a letter and hand it to the international press. Well, except one.
In an incredibly bold move, former “New Youth Study Group,” member and Black Series author Yang Zili, did just that. Risking re-arrest, Yang wrote the letter on behalf of friends and fellow group members Xu Wei and Jin Haike who each have two years remaining in their 10 year sentences. In an interview with the Associated Press, Yang stated, "I have no choice but to take this risk because I feel I have a responsibility to help them. If I don't make an appeal that is particularly on behalf of these two people, they might just slip through the cracks."
Yang, Xu, Jin, and Zhang Honghai (who also signed Yang’s appeal) were arrested in 2001 for their private meetings of the “New Youth Study Group,” in which they discussed the possibility for democratic reforms in China. Despite their small number and benign activity, their group was seen as a threat to the CCP, and, all four men were jailed. Clearly, the People’s Armed Police were no match for them, however, as they are still “subversive” almost 10 years later.