Jianli Yang is a Chinese democracy activist. He is also an old friend of Jay’s (and a hero of Jay’s). He is the president of Initiatives for China, in Washington, D.C. He was at Tiananmen Square. He was a prisoner of conscience in China for five years. He holds two Ph.D.s, one in math from Berkeley and the other in political economy from Harvard.

VOA_Yang_Jianli1In this “Q&A,” Jay talks to Yang about the decision of the International Olympic Committee to grant the 2022 Winter Games to China – just as the IOC granted the 2008 Summer Games to China. What does that mean for the Chinese Communist Party, and what does it mean for Chinese democrats?

Jay also asks Yang about a host of other issues: organ harvesting; Tibet; Mao; the 2010 Nobel peace laureate, who remains a political prisoner in China; and more. At the end, Jay asks, basically, “Why are you doing this when you could be doing so many other things?” Why this activism instead of academia, business, or something else?

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  1. Cat III Member
    Cat III
    @CatIII

    Thanks for this conversation. I admit I wasn’t aware of Jianli Yang, but I’m glad I am now. We need more people like him. Unfortunately, I’m pessimistic that anything will liberalize China (anytime soon that is).

    (Yang misuses the word “literally” but that’s forgivable as he’s not a native speaker. Bet he picked it up from dim Americans. Thanks Biden!)

    • #1
  2. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    I understand the theory expressed by Jay and his guest that the Olympic Games should not be held in police states. But, as a practical matter, the current International Olympic Committee makes it difficult for a free country to host the games. It appears that the IOC makes demands like:

    • special purpose infrastructure that presupposes a high level of government control over land and building,
    • a high level of control over the movement of the people of the host city during and around the games (to ensure smooth travel for the Olympic officials and attendees),
    • nearly complete elimination from the “public square” in the host city any references to commercial enterprises that are not official “Olympic sponsors,” and
    • virtual guarantees that there won’t be unpleasant protests.

    If the IOC actually does make those types of demands (whether explicitly or implicitly), I think the hopes of Jay and his guest that Olympic Games not be held in police states are unlikely to bear fruit.

    • #2