Harry 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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When: 26 April 2016
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