Chinese human rights activist Harry Wu died

Apr 28, 2016 13:01 IST

Harry WuHarry Wu, campaigner for human rights in China, passed away on 26 April 2016 in Honduras. He was 79.

Wu, the son of a wealthy Roman Catholic family from Shanghai, was arrested in 1960 when he was only 23 years old. He was given a life sentence in a forced labour prison camp after he criticised the Soviet Union, then an ally of China.

About Harry Wu

Wu studied at the Geology Institute in Beijing where he earned a degree.

In 1956, the Communist Party began a campaign encouraging citizens, particularly students and intellectuals, to express their true views of the Party and the state of society. The movement was known as the Hundred Flowers Campaign.

Wu eventually voiced some sentiments, by disagreeing with the Soviet's armed crackdown of Hungary, and the practice of labelling people into different categories.

By the Fall of 1956, 19-year-old Wu was subsequently singled out at his university.

For the next few years, he was continuously criticized in Party meetings and closely monitored until his arrest in 1960. He was charged with being a counterrevolutionary rightist, and was sent to the laogai (China’s system of forced-labour prison camps).

He was released from his life sentence in 1979 at the age of 42, as a result of political changes following the death of Mao Zedong.

He left China for the United States in 1985, after having received a chance invitation from the University of California at Berkeley to be a visiting scholar.

In November 2008, he opened the Laogai Museum in Washington, D.C., calling it the first ever United States museum to directly address human rights in China.

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Who: Chinese human rights activist Harry Wu

Where: Honduras

What: Died

When: 26 April 2016

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Read more Current Affairs on: Harry Wu , Laogai , China , Human Rights

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