Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A1059-W696



Release Date: November 4, 2017



Topic: My Love (Introduction) -- a Poem from Jail by YANG Tianshui

标题:诗歌:【狱中诗选】我之爱(引子) --杨天水


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)



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A Selected Work of "Wandering and Singing For Freedom - Chinese Literature and Art from Exile & Prison Series" by the Wei Jingsheng Foundation


My Love (Introduction)

-- A Poem by Yang TianShui (written in prison), Translated by Ciping HUANG


Editor Ciping HUANG's note:

The poem we featured here was written by Mr. Yang Tianshui, a prisoner of conscience in China who received a 12 year sentence for his democracy activities include writings.  He should be released next month yet now has brain cancer to the degree that he cannot even recognize his loved ones.  He is less than one year older than me, but he appears much older than me. 


Yang Tianshui went to the prestigious Beijing Normal University and studied history from 1978 to 1982.  He refused to be part of the intellectual elite to serve the Communist regime and benefit from it.  Instead, he served a total of 22 years in prison for his love of freedom and human rights.  During the few years of his adulthood when he was free, I communicated with him and was always impressed with his spirit and courage, yet felt pity that his outstanding talent and ability was wasted in prison.  I was deeply moved by the freedom loving him being exploited of his own freedom because of his conscience and action for other people’s freedom.  Only when I read his writings and poems, I realized that he was able to "wander and sing" for freedom even from his jail cells.


In 2006, the Wei Jingsheng Foundation awarded Yang Tianshui with its sixth annual "Wei Jingsheng Chinese Democracy Champion Prize".  I personally wrote the prize dedication: "The Oak Leaves that Never Fall in the Winter."  As we come to the end of autumn with all the billions of leaves losing their brilliant colors and falling to the earth, as his life has tragically neared its end, this dedication well described his colorful and meaningful life.


The following is my dedication:


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About the author Yang Tianshui:


Mr. YANG TianShui was born in JiangSu province on April 12, 1961 with the birth name YANG TongYan.  He graduated from the History Department of Beijing Normal University in 1982.  In the summer of 1989, he participated in the democratic movement of the Nanjing metro area.  In the earlier half of 1990, he founded the "Chinese Democratic Alliance" with some friends.  He was arrested on June 1, 1990, and was put in prison until May of 2000.  During his jail time, he went on hunger strikes several times, and also had diabetes.  After 2004, he was detained and searched many times, in the name of "publishing articles on the Internet which damaged the reputation of the country and were not beneficial to social stability".  On May 16, 2006, the Intermediate Court of ZhengJiang City delivered a 12 year sentence to Yang, in the name of "Inciting subversion of the state".  During his most recent time in jail, Yang has not only suffered from the diabetes, but also gained more illnesses including severe arthritis, kidney problems, tuberculosis, and has lost a lot of weight.  However, the jail guards blamed Yang for "not learning good things," for being faithful to his ideology and for refusing to surrender himself, to such a degree that they even refused the visiting rights by Yang's family and friends.  Now, Yang Tianshui is suffering from a brain cancer and can not even recognize his own family members.


On the Internet, Yang's articles propagated his democracy and rights defending ideas, with articles such as: The Sweat Shops in SuZhou; The Rising of Suppressions, Everyone has Rights to Against the Autocracy; What Crimes Have the Rights Defending Lawyers Done?; Everywhere Rights were Abused; The Rusty Machine of Autocracy; Let us Hold Back the Deterioration of Chinese Human Rights; It is Violation of the Law to Exploit Mao GuoLiang's Working Rights; Mine Disasters and Human Rights; Appeal for Scholars of Conscience; etc.


Before Yang TianShui's arrest, he would still support other democracy advocators in China, despite himself being on dangerous position.


Related photos:

1. Photo of Mr. Yang Tianshui at home:


2. Yang Tianshui with his sister in 2017, after being diagnosed with brain cancer:


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(English translation by HUANG Ciping) 


YANG Tianshui (poems in prison): My Love (Introduction)


These high walls blocking us are so dull and cold

These electric fences locked us away day and night

They separated us from the willow, river and field

Eagles soaring to freedom are blocked


Yet the moon refuses to be manipulated and monopolized

It gives all in the world the same kind of loving light

Its gentle and kind face guides us

To love and dream without end



For more writings and poems by Mr. Yang Tianshui, please visit his blog at:


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Lyrical Poetry by HUANG Ciping, as a response:

Tune title: The Autumn Wind

Poem title: Sentiment on Double-9th Festival (on October 28, 2017)


On these cold autumn days

In my thin autumn clothes

    Groups of geese flew southward

    A lonely soul pities cicadas


        Calling the moon from distance

            No one answers my call

        Seeking through the north sky

            There is no response



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A1059-W696



Release Date: November 4, 2017



Topic: My Love (Introduction) -- a Poem from Jail by YANG Tianshui

标题:诗歌:【狱中诗选】我之爱(引子) --杨天水


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)








"为自由而浪迹天涯 -- 中国流亡及牢狱文学与艺术系列"作品选


诗歌:杨天水:【狱中诗选】我之爱 (引子)









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杨天水,原名杨同彦,中国江苏省人,1961 年4月12日生。1978年,他考入北京师范大学历史系并于1982年毕业。1989年夏,他曾参与南京地区的民主运动。1990年上半年,他与一些同道一起成立"中华民主联盟",同年6月1日被捕。1990年6月至2000年5月,他入狱整整十年。在狱中,进行了数次绝食抗争,并患上糖尿病。2004年之后,他被以"在互联网上发表损害国家荣誉的以及不利于社会安定的文章"的罪名,多次被拘留和搜查。2006年5月16日,江苏省镇江市中级法院以"煽动颠覆国家政权罪",判处杨天水有期徒刑12年,剥夺政治权利4年。目前,患有糖尿病的杨天水,在狱中又得了严重的关节炎,肾病,结核病,体重大大下降。但狱方却指责理念不渝,坚强不屈的杨天水为" 不学好",对家属亲友的探望百般刁难。今夏,他被诊断出脑癌,已无法辨别家人。













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杨天水:【狱中诗选】我之爱 (引子)















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秋风词 - 重阳节感怀 (2017年10月28日)

-- 黄慈萍











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