19 anni nei Laogai, morto Harry Wu

E’ morto a 79 anni, durante un viaggio in Honduras, Harry Wu, da decenni difensore dei diritti umani in Cina e fondatore della Laogai Research foundation. Lo ha riferito all’ AP l’amministratrice dell’ omonima organizzazione per i diritti umani.
Wu, all’epoca studente universitario, fu arrestato e condannato a trascorrere 19 anni nei campi di prigionia cinesi noti come ‘laogai’ ovvero “rieducazione attraverso il lavoro”.
Dopo il suo rilascio, Wu si trasferì negli Stati Uniti, ma tornò spesso in Cina per condurre ricerche sui ‘laogai’. Diventato cittadino statunitense, fu arrestato durante un viaggio in Cina nel 1995 e condannato a 15 anni con l’accusa di spionaggio. Fu però presto estradato negli Stati Uniti dove ha continuato a documentare le violazioni di diritti umani in Cina.

Fonte: Ansa, 27 apr 16

Profondamente commossa, la Laogai Research Foundation Italia si unisce a questo dolore e un grande abbraccio ci avvicina ai famigliari di Harry nel ricordo di una persona speciale che è venuta a mancare.

 


China Human Rights Campaigner Harry Wu Dies

Harry Wu, a former political prisoner who dedicated his later life to exposing abuses in China’s brutal prison labor camp system, has died. He was 79.

Wu died Tuesday morning while on vacation in Honduras, Ann Noonan, administrator with Wu’s Laogai Human Rights Organization, told The Associated Press. The cause of death wasn’t immediately known, and Wu’s son Harrison and former wife China Lee were traveling to the Central American nation to bring home Wu’s remains, Noonan said.

“He was a real hero,” Noonan said by phone from New York. “Harry’s work will continue, it will not stop.”

Wu was born into a prosperous family in Shanghai that saw most of its property confiscated following the civil war victory of Mao Zedong’s communists in 1949. He studied geology at university but fell afoul of the authorities for his criticism of the Soviet Union, China’s then-ally, and was sentenced in 1960 at age 23 to China’s prison camp system known as laogai, or “reform through labor.”

Laogai was notorious for punishing intellectuals and political prisoners with long sentences and brutal conditions and the camps were blamed by some for causing millions of deaths. According to his autobiography, Wu spent various terms in 12 different camps, experiencing harsh work regimens on farms, coal mines and work sites, along with beatings, torture and near starvation.

Released in 1979 following Mao’s death three years earlier, Wu moved to the United States in 1985. He taught, wrote and founded the Laogai Research Foundation while returning frequently to China to conduct research on the labor camp system.

Having become a U.S. citizen, Wu was arrested during a visit to China in 1995 and sentenced to 15 years on espionage charges. He was immediately deported to the U.S. where he continued his work documenting Chinese human rights abuses and was a frequent speaker before Congress and at academic events.

The Washington, D.C.-based foundation established the Laogai Museum in 2008 to “preserve the memory of the laogai’s many victims and serve to educate the public about the atrocities committed by China’s communist regime,” according to the foundation’s website.

China has since formally eliminated laogai along with a milder version known as laojiao, or “reform through education,” although penal labor remains a key feature of the Chinese prison system.

Wu was the author of books about his prison experience and later advocacy, including “The Chinese Gulag,” ”Bitter Winds,” and “Troublemaker.”

A Catholic, he campaigned for other causes, including international labor rights, religious freedom, and an end to the death penalty, forced organ harvesting and China’s often coercive population control policies.

He was a strong backer of other political prisoners and critics denounced by Beijing, including exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is serving a prison sentence in China for advocating political reforms.

Source: ABC News, 27 apr 16

Deeply moved the LRF Italy joins to the great pain, embracing the family of Harry in memory of a great person who has passed away.

 

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