China's most prominent dissident, Wei Jingsheng, has spent
most of his adult life in prison. He was first sentenced
to fifteen years imprisonment in 1979 for arguing in protests
and in his essay "The Fifth Modernization: Democracy"
that, in addition to Deng Xiaoping's heralded reforms, China
needed democracy. Enduring solitary confinement and unspeakable
conditions, Wei was released in 1993 during China's bid
to host the 2000 Olympic Games. Within eighteen months,
after returning immediately to vocal protest, he was sentenced
to another fourteen years. He was released three years later
on medical parole. He now lives in the United States, hoping
one day to return to China. He is the recipient of numerous awards
including the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.
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