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Harry Wu

Chinese human rights activist and former political prisoner Harry Wu has died at the age of 79.

The Laogai Research Foundation that Wu founded said he died on April 26 while vacationing in Honduras with friends.

Wu spoke out for decades against China’s brutal forced labor camps, known as laogai, that were established under Chairman Mao Zedong.

Wu himself was sentenced to life in prison in 1960 after he spoke out against the Soviet Union, an ally of China.

He was released in 1979 after 19 years of forced labor mining coal, building roads, and working in agricultural fields.

He was beaten, tortured, and nearly starved to death and he witnessed the deaths of many other prisoners in China from brutality, starvation, and suicide.

In 1985, Wu traveled to the United States and began work to raise awareness about China’s forced labor camps.

He founded the Laogai Research Foundation in Washington in 1992.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP
Ukrainian TV talk show host Savik Shuster

A prominent Ukrainian talk show host was stripped of his work permit on April 26, sparking an uproar that forced Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to defend his record on media freedom.

Savik Shuster -- a 63-year-old Canadian who was born in the Soviet Union and had previously worked for RFE/RL -- accused Kyiv of not supporting free speech.

"As it turns out, this government does not tolerate any criticism," he said on his satellite television channel.

He announced he was going on a hunger strike " right to work in Ukraine is restored."

Ukraine's employment office told Shuster that his work permit was revoked because he had failed to notify authorities that he was under investigation by tax authorities.

"Freedom of speech is one of Ukraine's greatest achievements," Poroshenko countered on Facebook. "As the guarantor of the constitution, I have and will protect free speech in all its forms. That is why I hope that the corresponding agencies resolve this matter as soon as possible."

Shuster has produced his political talk show Shuster Live for years. He vowed to continue his work without a permit.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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