Along with his colleagues Wang Fengshan and Guo Xinmin, Yue started a journal campaigning for workers’ rights after they were unable to get compensation from the Tianshui City Transport Agency following their dismissal from the company in 1995. The first issue of Zhongguo Gongren Guancha (China Labor Watch) exposed extensive corruption among officials at the company, according to international media reports. Only two issues were ever published.
On July 5, 1999, the Tianshui People’s Intermediate Court in Gansu province sentenced Yue to 10 years in prison on charges of “subverting state authority,” according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy. His colleagues Wang and Guo were sentenced to two years in prison and have since been released. All three men reportedly belonged to the outlawed China Democracy Party, a dissident group, and were forming an organization to protect the rights of laid-off workers.
In 2006, the U.S.-based prisoner advocacy group Dui Hua Foundation reported that Yue’s sentence was reduced to nine years in March 2005. He turned 51 in Lanzhou Prison in December 2007.