Jianli Yang


Dr. Yang Jianli is a scholar and human rights activist internationally recognized for his efforts to promote democracy in China. He has been involved in the Chinese democracy movement since the 1980s. He participated in the 1989 Tiananmen protests and co-authored the Constitution of a Federal Democratic China. He holds PhDs in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley and in political economy from Harvard University.

In 2002, Dr. Yang returned to China to support the labor movement and was imprisoned for 5 years. Following his release and his subsequent return to the U.S., Dr. Yang founded Initiatives for China, a.k.a. Citizen Power, an organization promoting China’s peaceful transition to democracy. In March, 2010 Dr. Yang co-chaired the Committee on Internet Freedom at the Geneva Summit fo Human Rights and Democracy. In December, 2010 Dr.Yang represented Liu Xiaobo at the latter’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. In December 2011, Dr. Yang, joined H.H. Dalai Lama and four other delegates, to attend Forum 2000 hosted by former Czech president, Vaclav Havel. Dr.Yang, founder and organizer of China's many major citizen initiatives, is a recipient of numerous international human rights awards including the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Achievement Award and Morris Abram Human Rights Award. 

Dr. YANG Jianli, a Tiananmen Massacre survivor, tells you, through the story of the Tank Man and his own experience in the massacre, that those who stand opposite us are not necessarily our enemies and that anyone one including those in the “wrong” camps has his or her moment to become a hero. There are always tank men all around us.