Yang Jianli is a Chinese pro-democracy activist. Jianli Was born in Shandong Province in northern China and graduated from Beijing normal University. Though regarded as a member with high potential in the Chinese Communist Party, Jianli left China to study mathematics at U.C.Berkeley, after witnessing widespread corruption within the Communist Party. In 1989, he was selected by Berkeley graduate students to travel to Beijing to support the Chinese students protesting for democracy in Tiananmen Square. Jianli witnessed the massacre of hundreds of civilians at the hands of the Chinese Army. Jianli was able to escape and returned to the U.S., where he completed a doctorate in political economy at Harvard University. The Chinese government blacklisted him for his participation in the protests. In 2002, Jianli returned to China to investigate labor unrest in the north. He was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison for “spying.” Following an international outcry for his release, led by the legal non-profit Freedom Now, Jianli was freed in 2007. After his release, Jianli established ;Initiatives for China, an organization dedicated to democracy in China. He also formed the Foundation for China in the 21st Century, created the Interethnic/Interfaith Leadership Conferences, founded China E-Weekly (also known as Yibao magazine), and is the co-author of “A Constitution for a Democratic China.” His commentary has appeared in media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Foreign Policy.