Yang Hengjun Free? (And Who Is He?)

Word is spreading on Twitter that Yang Hengjun has been released following his apparent detention on Sunday. His situation, however, remains unclear. When asked about his detention, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Jiang Yu claimed “I have not heard of that person”. In response, China Media Project offered an introduction: A former diplomat, [Yang] saw democracy at work in the Western world, and he [eventually] became a lively and acute advocate of universal values. He is also a writer of spy fiction. He use of a vivid and popular style of writing earned him admirers among a wide range of readers, including Party officials and rural workers. A group of migrant workers even established their own Yang Hengjun reading group. When Yang Hengjun started writing his blog, people felt there was something mysterious about him. A man in his forties, and no one has any idea where he comes from, and here he is writing a blog about military affairs, national security and politics. Moreover, it was said he had written international spy fiction. For a time, opinions were widely divided. Some said that he’s one of our own, after all. Others speculated that he must be a spy. There’s no question that Yang Hengjun is a strange one. “That’s right, I used to work inside the [Chinese] system. I was in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for twenty years, and I also worked in politics and law and other systems. Professional ethics demand I keep quiet about exactly what I did at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But what does writing a blog have to do with what I did in the past? I have a friends who are policeman, national security guys and foreign ministry people about the ministerial level, and they write blogs too. They too write ...
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