Xu Wenli

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Xu Wenli is a Watson Institute "senior fellow through June 30, 2008. One of China's most recognized pro-democracy advocates, Mr. Xu spent 16 years in prison for his activities as a dissident. He was a leader in the Democracy Wall movement from 1979 to 1981, edited the samizdat-style journal April Fifth Forum, and played a major role in establishing the Beijing-Tianjin branch of the China Democracy Party. Mr. Xu's health suffered while in prison. In reaction to his declining condition, international human rights groups, the U.S. ambassador to China, and Western officials called for his release. The Chinese government finally relented and released him on medical grounds in December 2002. He and his wife left China immediately for the United States to be reunited with their daughter, Xu Jin, who lives in Rhode Island." [1]

"By 1998, Wenli had returned, full swing, to his pro-democracy work, establishing labor unions and other pro-democracy groups and, eventually, the Chinese Democracy Party and the Chinese Human Rights Observer. He was arrested and again sentenced to 13 years for “incitement to overthrow the state.”" [2]

  • "December 24, 2002: Exiled to the United States, and has since been working as a visiting scholar at the Watson Institute of International Studies at Brown University.
  • "May 26, 2003: Awarded an honorary doctorate degree by Brown University.
  • "January 28, 2004: Began work as a professor at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies, teaching a seminar on the history of the Democracy Wall and the Chinese Democratic Party.
  • "December 3, 2004: Founded the Chinese Democratic Party Overseas Exile Headquarters, and is currently the general convener of the Headquarters." [3]

"Xu Wenli, who spent a total of 16 years in Chinese prisons, was sentenced most recently in December 1998 to a 13-year term for his association with the China Democracy Party (CDP)...

"Human Rights Watch urged the U.S. and other governments to press for the immediate, unconditional release of other key organizers of the China Democracy Party who are still imprisoned. Wang Youcai and Qin Yongmin, sentenced the same week as Xu, are serving 11- and 12-year terms on subversion charges for the same alleged offense as Xu's. At least 10 other CDP members, less well-known outside of China, received similarly long sentences." [4]

On May 4, 2006, he spoke at a Laogai Research Foundation conference. [5]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Members List, Global Coalition To Bring Jiang To Justice, accessed July 30, 2008.