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Xu Wenli

Xu Wenli and He Xintong
Xu Wenli and his wife He Xintong (2014 at their home)

... was born in 1943 in Jiangsu province. From 1964-69 he served in the People's Liberation Army before being assigned to a post in the Beijing railway administration. In the late 1970s Xu became a leading figure of the Democracy Wall Movement. In November 1978 he published the first issue of the journal "April 5th Forum" that continued to appear for two years. On April 9, 1981, Xu Wenli was arrested together with other leading dissidents. In June 1980 he had discussed the founding of an opposition party at an activists' Meeting in Beijing's Ganjiakou District. Because of this he was formally accused of trying to form a "counter-revolutionary organization" and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

After his release in 1993 Xu continued his political networking, in 1998 he co-founded the "Democratic Party of China". He was immediately arrested again and sentenced to another 13 years in jail. The US government and many Western politicians and NGOs pressured for Xu's release, and on December 24, 2002, he was eventually allowed to travel to the United States "for medical treatment". He received an honorary doctorate at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he continued to teach until 2013.  

Interview with Xu Wenli (on June 1, 2014 at his home in Providence, Rhode Island, USA)

Here you find the Chinese text of the interview (an English translation will be provided later).


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