Writer and blogger Yang Tongyan , named after Yang Tianshui , a leading figure in the democratic opposition in China, died on Tuesday when he had almost completed a 12-year sentence for "subversion" in Nanjing Prison (Jiangsu Province, Southeast). The 56-year-old had been "medically released" last August and underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor.
In 2008, Yang Tongyan received the "Freedom to Write" award from PEN America, an organization dedicated to freedom of expression, and was a member of the NGO Independent Chinese Pen Center. He was sentenced in 2006 to 12 years in prison after posting online articles favorable to democratic change in China. He had, in the past, been incarcerated for a decade for his political ideas.