Last week, in response to an appeal by Jerry Yang, Condoleezza Rice raised the cases of Wang Xiaoning and Shi Tao with Chinese authorities on her visit to Beijing. A Chinese version of Jerry Yang’s letter to Rice is circulating around the internet. It’s unclear whether Rice’s intervention will result in an early release for the two men. But in the past, getting one’s case raised by the U.S. Secretary of State has tended to boost a person’s chances of early release. The Chinese have also agreed to resume a stalled human rights dialogue. This is no doubt tied to concerns about international criticisms in the run-up to the Olympics.