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Jiang Yanyong

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Jiǎng Yànyǒng | 蒋彦永

Jiang Yanyong (b. 1931) is known for revealing the SARS epidemic in 2003. He has also spoken out for the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

Jiang studied medicine at Yenching University and Peking Union Medical College. He joined the People’s Liberation Army in 1954 and began working at the PLA General Hospital in Beijing. In 1987, he became the chief surgeon at the Hospital. In June 1989, Jiang treated victims following the military crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests.

During the SARS outbreak in spring 2003, Jiang took to the press to reveal the number of known infections, publicly contradicting the number released by the Chinese Ministry of Health. He was celebrated in Chinese press before being scrubbed from the public’s view a few months later.

Jiang has called for the Chinese government to admit that the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in 1989 was a mistake. In 2004, Jiang addressed a letter to the Chinese Communist Party leadership, asking for a reassessment of the student-led movement. He was reportedly interrogated and forced to attend indoctrination sessions as a result of his letter. Before the 30th Anniversary of the Tiananmen protests in 2019, Jiang wrote to Chinese President Xi Jinping on the same issue.

Stories about Jiang resurfaced in 2020 after the COVID-19 outbreak. According to his friends and family, Jiang was confined to his home by the authorities and was not in good health.

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