In Princeton speech, dissident urges U.S. pressure on China

Dec. 8, 2000 1:24 p.m.

In an address at Princeton Thursday, exiled Chinese dissident and former political prisoner Harry Wu called upon the United States to use its economic leverage to advance human rights and bring down China's Communist regime.

"China needs the West much more than the West needs China," Wu said, suggesting that the United States and its allies should pressure his country to protect human rights. "I love my people, I love my country; that's why I want to say 'no' to this Communist regime."

Wu spoke before about 150 people in McCosh 50 on "Human Rights Abuses in China, Labor Camps, and Organ Donation." He alleged gross violations of human rights in China, including forced abortions, public executions, unwarranted imprisonment, and the harvesting and sale of organs from the bodies of executed prisoners.

Wu, a geologist, is the founder and executive director of the Laogai Research Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to compiling information about life within China's forced labor camps. In his best-selling book, Bitter Winds , Wu chronicled his own 19-year imprisonment in Chinese prison labor camps, where he was made to manufacture chemicals, mine coal, build roads, clear land and plant and harvest crops. He has said he was subjected to grueling labor, starvation and torture during this time.

Wu was released from prison in 1979 and eventually was allowed to leave China and move to the United States. He testified before the U.S. Congress in 1985 on the human rights abuses he witnessed, and in 1991, he returned to China with a television crew in order to secretly document life behind prison walls. He was arrested again in 1995 when he tried to enter China and was sentenced to 15 years for "stealing state secrets," but was released and expelled after an international campaign on his behalf.

His talk was sponsored by the Princeton University and Mercer County chapters of Amnesty International.

Contact: Justin Harmon (609) 258-3601