Human rights defender's profile: Wang Dan


Tuesday 4 June 2019 marks 30 years since in the heart of Beijing, on Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government brutally cracked down on pro-democracy students, killing hundreds, if not thousands of peaceful demonstrators. This brutal massacre shook the world.

Until today, the Chinese Communist Party has actively sought to silence any attempt to speak about or commemorate the memory of the June Fourth events. From private ceremonies to the smallest act of remembrance, the Chinese authorities are ramping up efforts to erase this marking event from official history.


Tiananmen China

Photo: private collection of Wang Dan


Wang Dan was one of the most visible student leaders of the 1989 democracy movement. As a result, he immediately figured on top of the 21 ‘most wanted’ by Beijing police. He was sentenced to four years imprisonment in 1991, and to another eleven years in 1995, before being released and seeking asylum in the US.

Yet, he has relentlessly continued to promote human rights and democratic reforms outside of mainland China.


Wang Dan's video profile

Today, Wang Dan is the founder and director of Dialogue China, a Washington-based think tank that conducts research and activities to promote democracy in China. ISHR had the pleasure to meet him and hear his story.

The video is also available with Chinese subtitles. See below:







For more information, please contact Sarah M Brooks (at or Twitter @sarahmcneer); or Raphael Viana David (at r.vianadavid@ishr.chT or on Twitter at @vdraphael).