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Chinese Rights Activist Harry Wu Dies At Age 79

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