Former student leader Wang Dan, age 25, who was imprisoned for 4 years after the 1989 pro-democracy protests and released in 1993, was redetained by 3 policemen on May 21, 1995 in Beijing. According to the New-York-based organization Human Rights in China (HRIC), his family was told that he was being taken away for questioning . At the time of his detention his home was searched, including his parents' rooms, and police reportedly removed eight bags of his belongings and seized a number of books and magazines.
For several months Wang Dan had been under close surveillance, being followed everywhere by police. Prior to his arrest he wrote a declaration to be publicized if he was rearrested, announcing his intention to start a hunger strike. He reportedly went on a hunger strike shortly after his arrest.
At 3 a.m. on May 23 1995, police officers visited Wang Dan's home and told his family that he was being detained by the public security bureau and was under investigation for public order offenses, but gave no further details of the alleged offenses. Later the same day his mother visited the public security bureau. She was not permitted to see her son and was not given any further information about why he was detained. However, during a conversation one policeman reportedly mentioned that Wang Dan had been a signatory to two petitions. A petition calling for tolerance of dissent and release of all those still imprisoned for their participation in events in May and June 1989 was released on May 15, 1995. It was signed by 45 people. A second petition signed by 56 people was released on May 19,1995. After the petitions were released, Wang Dan was continually followed by nine plainclothes policeman, one of whom reportedly threatened to beat him to death.