Tiananmen Square Activist Allowed to Remain in U.S.

The contentious relationship between the Chinese Communist Party and Mr. W began when his father was imprisoned and sent to a forced labor camp after the Cultural Revolution.

As a young adult, Mr. W participated in protests against the government. He joined students and activists at Tiananmen Square in 1989, spoke out against the abuses of workers, and wrote internet articles about democracy and freedom.

He left China for the United States in 2004 to escape censorship and oppression. In New York, he learned of the China Democracy Party. He joined the organization, and participated in demon­strations at the United Nations and the Chinese Consulate.

If Mr. W were to return to China, he would face imprisonment because of his membership in this political group. A Chinese lawyer in New York helped Mr. W complete an initial asylum application. Mr. W. brought his case to Minnesota when he moved here because of employment opportunities.

Through The Advocates for Human Rights, he began working in 2007 with three attorneys from Briggs and Morgan: Kevin Decker, Max Heerman, and Bobak Razavi. A law student from the University of Minnesota provided linguistic assistance, volunteering to translate for the trial.

Mr. W received a grant of withholding. While disappointed to not receive asylum, he is thankful to be able to stay in the United States.

Mr. W and his legal team communicated well, despite their different cultures. Mr. W and Razavi maintain a warm friend­ship, and Mr. W speaks with great appreciation of Bobak’s “very careful” work on his case. Razvi appreciated the experience with the immigration court and believed the judge really “heard” them. However, the trial marked Razavi's last in his legal career; he began a second career teaching social studies and English.

For Mr. W, life in the United States means separation from his family. He hopes to reunite with them some day. “It is important for father and son to be together, more than anything,” he said.