Months before Tiananmen Anniversary, China Refuses Entry to Exiled Student Leader

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Months before Tiananmen Anniversary, China Refuses Entry to Exiled Student Leader

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, March 9, 2009) – Yi Danxuan (易丹轩), a former student leader in Guangzhou during the 1989 pro-democracy movement, was denied entry into China on March 7. Yi, now an American citizen, was barred from entering China three months before the 20th anniversary of the authorities’ bloody crackdown of the movement.

In the morning of March 7, Yi, holding a valid US passport and a multiple-entry visa to China, was stopped at Luohu, an immigration point between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Yi was returning to China to visit his parents. Yi was taken to a room where he waited over an hour before he was notified that he would not be able to enter China. Yi’s multiple-entry visa, valid until December 2009, was cancelled.

The team leader of the border police, Officer Li (border police no. 042572) told Yi he was being prevented from entering the country on “directions from higher authorities”, later adding that this was on the basis of Article 12 of the Law of the PRC on the Control of the Exit and Entry of Aliens. The article, Yi later learned, states that “aliens who are considered a possible threat to China’s state security and public order shall not be permitted to enter China.” When notifying Yi that he was barred from entering China, Li did not explain the content of this article, nor did he describe how Yi posted a threat to the China’s security or public order.

“The accusation is simply baffling. They are determined to keep me out of China, so they simply found an excuse to do so,” said Yi.

“We have received information about border police tightening control in preparation for the anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre. The fact that Yi was allowed in the country a year ago and yet barred from doing so months before the anniversary shows how the bloody 1989 crackdown still strikes a very raw nerve with the authorities twenty years on,” said Wang Songlian, research coordinator of CHRD. During the 2008 Chinese New Year, Yi returned to China for the first time in sixteen years using the same multiple-entry visa that was cancelled on March 7.


Yi Danxuan, from Hunan Province, grew up in Guangzhou. In 1989, as a student at the Business Management Department of the Guangdong School of Business School, Yi initiated and organized the pro-democracy protests in the Guangzhou area. For his role in the movement, Yi was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in Guangzhou for the crime of “disturbing social order”. After his release, Yi left for the US for further studies in 1992, after the authorities barred him from leaving for a year. Yi went on to obtain a B.A. and then an M.B.A. in the US, and has since worked in journalism, business and with non-profits.

Media contacts for this press release:

Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin): +852 8191 6937
Wang Songlian, Research Coordinator and English Editor (English, Mandarin and Cantonese): +85281911660

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