DETAINED CHINESE DOCTOR "FURIOUS" OVER TIANANMEN


2004.07.13
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Fifteen years ago, when Chinese army doctor Jiang Yanyong heard the sound of People's Liberation Army tanks rumble past his house on their way to suppress the student-led protests in Tiananmen Square, he rushed off to his hospital to help tend the wounded. What he saw there made him so angry, that it was really just a matter of time before he spoke out, his daughter Jiang Rui told RFA in a recent interview.

"We heard the sound of gunfire. My father then went to the hospital," Jiang Rui, the U.S.-based daughter of Jiang Yanyong, recalled in a recent interview with RFA. "[When he came back] he told us about a few people who were killed. He was very angry," she said of the night when People's Liberation Army tanks rolled into Beijing to quash a student-led pro-democracy movement, killing hundreds, perhaps thousands of people.

Jiang Yanyong was secretly detained in Beijing June 1, 2004, together with his wife Hua Zhongwei. The couple were on their way to apply for visas to visit their daughter in California. Hua has since been released but has declined media interviews.

" ; "After all these years, he still remembers bearing witness to a military force opening fire on its own people. If he hadn't spoken out this year, he would have next year. " ; — ; Jiang Rui, daughter of detained Chinese doctor Jiang Yanyong

"I'm not too sure how my father is doing. My mother is doing okay now that she's been released. But she's under a lot of stress," Jiang Rui said.

Jiang became famous in 2003 as the doctor who blew the whistle on a massive cover-up by Chinese health authorities of the extent of the SARS outbreak in the city that year, and has been lauded as a hero for doing so in the media and in Internet chatrooms across the country.

On Feb. 24, 2004 he threw the full weight of his fame behind renewed calls for an official reappraisal of the Tiananmen Square protests as a "patriotic movement", risking a happy and peaceful retirement to do so, Jiang Rui said.

"It takes a lot of courage to stand up and say what he's said," his daughter told RFA's Different Voices program. "He's retired and lives a good life. He's got everything. It wouldn't hurt him not to say anything. But he can't refrain from speaking out against incidents like June Fourth."

"After all these years, he still remembers bearing witness to a military force opening fire on its own people. If he hadn't spoken out this year, he would have next year. He would have had to speak out sooner or later," Jiang Rui said.

Jiang Rui said her father had been "totally behind the students" at the time of the demonstrations, which brought about the fall of Zhao Ziyang as General Secretary and catalyzed a clampdown on political development in favor of economic growth at the heart of central government.

"After June Fourth, we were all very nervous...because my father had talked about the incident plainly," Jiang Rui, who left China to pursue a master's degree in computer science in the U.S. in September 1989, said.

"I remember one time I dreamed that the police came knocking on our door. We were in our yard. We could see the police in full gear with their guns knocking on our door. I was very nervous. I was afraid that he would be taken away," she said.

" ; He's never thought of himself as a famous person. He's just telling the truth. " ; — ; Jiang Rui, daughter of detained Chinese doctor Jiang Yanyong Jiang, who described being forced as a kindergarten student to denounce her father to his face during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), said her father had always been outspoken, which led to his imprisonment exile to a farm in the remote province of Qinghai.

In an open letter to Jiang Yanyong last month, Jiang Rui hit out at the Chinese authorities for keeping him from his family. She has said she fears the government may be preparing subversion charges against him.

Asked if her father was a hero, Jiang Rui replied: "He's never thought of himself as a famous person. He's just telling the truth. Actually, outside of China...this kind of behavior would hardly raise an eyebrow. But in China, very few people dare to say anything like that."

Related Stories & ; Links:

STATEMENT FROM JIANG RUI, daughter of Jiang Yanyong

Time Asia : PEOPLE WHO MATTERED: JIANG YANYONG The doctor who blew the whistle on China's SARS epidemic – ; 2003-12-21

CHINA: RELEASE WHISTLEBLOWING DOCTOR Year-Long Pattern of Harassment Comes to Light Human Rights Watch: – ; 2004-06-10

RFA: HONG KONG HEALTH CHIEF QUITS AFTER DAMNING SARS REPORT – ; 2004-07-07

RFA: HONG KONG OFFICIALS REACTED TOO SLOWLY TO SARS – ; 2004-07-05

RFA: SARS VACCINE EFFECTIVE IN MONKEYS – ; 2004-06-25

RFA: CHINESE HOSPITAL HUSHED UP SARS CASE: HEALTH OFFICIAL – ; 2004-02-05

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