is a Harvard Fellow and founding president of Initiatives for China
, a pro-democracy movement committed to peaceful transition to democracy in China. A survivor of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, he is internationally recognized as a leading architect for democracy in China. Returning to China in 2002, following the completion of his studies at Harvard, to assist the labor movement with nonviolent strategies, Dr. YANG was imprisoned for ‘spying’ until his release in 2007 following an international outcry including a UN resolution and a unanimous vote of both houses of the US Congress.
Co-author of a democratic constitution for China, he is publisher of Yibao, Chinese E-Magazine of Ideas, Issues, and Commentary on Contemporary China, and lead organizer of the Interfaith/Interethnic Leadership Conference that in 2009 brought together the Dalai Lamai with Chinese intellectuals from the mainland. Dr. YANG co-chaired the Committee on Internet Freedom at the Geneva Human Rights and Democracy Summit in 2010, with his views on the impact of internet censorship on both Chinese and world security stimulating widespread discussion and coverage in leading publications including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Foreign Policy magazine. Dr. YANG holds a deep conviction that the path to democracy lies through the awakening of a unified citizen power or ‘Gong Min Li Liang’ among all the peoples under Chinese government rule, and believes that continued US leadership in holding China accountable for respecting the human and political rights of its citizens is a critical component for world stability and peaceful transition to a democratic society in China. Elected by Chinese independent thinkers one of the top 100 Chinese Public Intellectuals of 2009, 2010 and recognized by Chinese Twitter users as one of 50 Most Respected Chinese Citizens of 2009, 2010, Dr. YANG received a PhD in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in Political Economy from Harvard University.