For Immediate Release, October 10, 2012
Contact: Barbara Becker, EqualShot, 917-727-1094
Leading Figure in Chinese Pro-democracy Efforts Wins 2012 Civil Courage Prize
Exiled dissident Yu Jie to be honored Legal scholar Philip C. Bobbitt to keynote
New York, NY — Yu Jie, a notable writer and leader in Chinese pro-democracy efforts, will receive the 13th annual Civil Courage Prize in New York City on October 17. The prize of $50,000 has been awarded annually since 2000 by The Train Foundation.
Philip Bobbitt, Professor of Jurisprudence at Columbia University and the Director of the Center on National Security at the Columbia Law School, will deliver the keynote address.
Yu Jie is a co-author of Charter 08, a manifesto calling on the Communist Party of China to adopt an independent legal system, eliminate one-party rule, respect human rights and enact other reforms. He is a close associate and biographer of the 2010 Nobel Peace Laureate, Liu Xiaobo.
Shortly after the announcement of Liu's Nobel Prize, Yu was placed under house arrest and subjected to life-threatening torture. Upon his release Yu emigrated with his wife and young child to the United States in January 2012. He has promised to use his new-found freedom to "put forth my voice on the broader international platform on behalf of the struggle for democracy and freedom in China."
This fall as China's political leaders undertake a leadership transition at the 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Yu Jie has released a stinging rebuke of the country's outgoing president, China's Lost Decade under Hu Jintao. The book was published in Hong Kong.
Yu's multiple writings are censored in China, though he continues to be published abroad. His first book, Fire and Ice, was reviewed as a "scathing work of social and political criticism," and he was subjected to numerous interrogations and threats from the authorities for his critical biography of China's Premier, entitled China's Best Actor: Wen Jiabao.
Born in 1973, Yu received his masters degree in literature from Peking University. Professor Xia Xiaohong, of the Faculty of Literature of Peking University, said: "Yu Jie has an acute and sharp genre of thought, which has emerged through free writing. His essays have an internal charm and power."
Yu is the former vice-president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center. Author of over thirty books, he wrote his first published work at age thirteen. Yu is a member of a Christian "house church" and has been active in defending religious rights.
The 2012 Civil Courage Prize Award Ceremony will be held at the Harold Pratt House, 58 E. 68th St. in New York City, on Wednesday, October 17 6:30 pm (reception); 7:15pm (ceremony). To attend the event as a member of the media, please contact Barbara Becker 917-727-1094.
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