At a Watson Institute press conference three days later, Wang apologized for his rusty English, noting that in prison he had not been permitted to speak or read English. He’d been a graduate student studying physics at the time of the Tiananmen Square uprising, but politics had sidelined his science studies since then. He said he remained surprised by “the amount of violence released in the massacre.” Wang was one of twenty-one students arrested afterward. “All these twenty-one people were considered heroes of the student movement,” Xu told reporters.
Wang was rearrested when he and two others registered to vote for the Chinese Democratic Party; that move earned him an eleven-year sentence, of which he’d served six years. The night before his release, he said, Chinese officials had taken him to see his parents, explaining to them that he was being sent to the United States to be treated for a mysterious pulmonary or heart problem. Describing this, Wang looked doubtful. China often uses “medical parole” to rid itself of activists whose cases have attracted international attention. Meantime, he said, his parents encouraged him “to study constitutional democracy in America.”