Jiang Qisheng is a writer and political activist. In 1968, the Chinese government sent him to the countryside for re-education. He received a Master’s degree in aerodynamics from the Beijing Institute of Aeronautics and then held a teaching post at Tsinghua University from 1985 to 1988. In 1988, he started studying for his Ph.D. at Renmin University in Beijing and became involved in the 1989 Tiananmen student movement as a member of a delegation that met with national leaders in an attempt to resolve the protests peacefully. He was jailed for eighteen months in 1989-1991 because of his activities in the protests. After his release, he was denied regular employment and became a translator and freelance writer, publishing numerous articles in American, Japanese, and Hong Kong journals.

In April 1999, Jiang wrote an open letter entitled “Light a Myriad Candles to Collectively Commemorate the Brave Spirits of June Fourth.” Following the publication of this letter, he was arrested and held at the Beijing Detention Center for nearly two years. In 2000 he was convicted of “incitement to subvert state power,” for which he served two more years in prison.

Jiang was one of the drafters of “Charter 08” and has been subjected to continued harassment by the authorities ever since. His book My Life in Prison: Memoirs of a Chinese Political Dissident (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012) was originally published in Chinese in Hong Kong in 2005. He is also the author of A Life of Truth (Chinese, Hong Kong Laogai Research Foundation, 2009).

Last Updated: January 6, 2015

On Leaving a Chinese Prison

Jiang Qisheng from New York Review of Books
“What I did, what landed me in prison, was really quite simple—I just said in public what my fellow citizens were saying in all those other nooks.” —Jiang Qisheng