|Education||University of Science and Technology of China|
|Occupation||Political scientist, dissident|
|Years active||1985 - present|
|Organization||Chinese Academy of Social Sciences|
|Political party||Federation for a Democratic China|
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
|Spouse(s)||Gao Gao (高皋)|
Yan was born on 25 December 1942 in Wujin District, Changzhou, Jiangsu, during the Chinese Civil War. In 1959, he entered the University of Science and Technology of China, and then became the director of the Institute of Political Research of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, where he published several essays and papers on political reform. In 1986, he published a "theory of leadership". His most famous book, written in collaboration with his wife Gao Gao, was Turbulent Decade: A History of the Cultural Revolution.
He became a political advisor of Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang during the 1980s, and was one of the leading intellectuals supporting the student movement in 1989. After the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, he fled to Paris, France, where he participated in forming the Federation for a Democratic China and was elected the federation's first president. He was expelled from the Communist Party of China in 1991, while in exile.
Books written in Chinese translated into English
- Turbulent Decade Co-authored with Gao Gao, translated by D.W.Y. Kwok. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1996
- Toward a Democratic China translated by David S. K. Hong and Denis C. Mair. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1992
- Yan Jiaqi and China's Struggle For Democracy, translated by David Bachman and Dali L. Yang. M.E.Sharpe Inc. 1992
- 我和朱厚泽的交往. 163.com (in Chinese). 15 May 2012.
- 复旦大学宣传部长萧思健因病逝世 年仅48岁. Sohu (in Chinese). 8 May 2015.
- 关于制止动乱和平息反革命暴乱的情况报告. npc.gov.cn (in Chinese). 2015.
- "海外民运"哪儿给钱多去哪 逢中必反遭华人唾弃. jschina.com.cn (in Chinese). 12 February 2015.