The Perils of Candor

Shortly after Jiang Yanyong sent an open letter to the media exposing the Chinese government's cover-up of the SARS outbreak in April 2003, he told TIME he doubted he would be punished. The semiretired military surgeon reasoned that as a veteran member of the Communist Party and a doctor exercising his "professional responsibility to protect the health of the people," he had nothing to fear. That assessment might have proved accurate had Jiang not courageously penned a second letter to the party leadership in February--this one denouncing the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. On June 1, on their way to apply for...

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