The reunion last week of Boston-based Chinese dissident Yang Jianli with his wife and son after five years in a Chinese prison hopefully marks the first of many conciliatory gestures Beijing will make as it prepares to improve China’s image in the area of human rights before next year’s Olympic Games.
In particular, the fact that Yang was granted a Chinese passport”identifying him as a Chinese citizen with the right to return to China at will”could be seen as a sign of Beijing’s softening stance toward political dissent. Looking closer, however, at this and other recent events suggests that Yang Jianli’s passport is the exception and that China still plans to use restriction on travel as a means of punishing those who hold different political views. [Full text]
See also a comment on this article from Donald Clarke on the Chinese Law Prof Blog.