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Former political prisoner Harry Wu to discuss US-China relations

by Judy Hughes, communications and marketing last modified Jan 10, 2013 10:08 AM

Human rights activist Harry Wu, who spent nearly two decades as a Chinese political prisoner, will speak on campus Jan. 23 about U.S.-China relations.

Former political prisoner Harry Wu to discuss US-China relations

Harry Wu

Wu’s talk, “In the Mouth of the Dragon: U.S. and China Relations in the 21st Century,” will be the UofL Center for Asian Democracy’s annual lecture on Asian democracy.

His lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in the Brown & Williamson Club at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, 2800 S. Floyd St. Guests should enter through Gate 6. Wu’s talk and reception afterward are free and public, but guests are asked to register for tickets by emailing cad@louisville.edu or calling 502-852-2667.

Wu is executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Laogai Research Foundation, which he founded in 1992 to raise public awareness about the laogai -- China’s system of forced-labor prison camps, also referred to as the “bamboo gulag.”

At age 23, the Shanghai native was imprisoned for criticizing the Communist Party in 1960 and spent 19 years working in the laogai’s system of mines, fields and factories; Wu has recounted how he survived torture, beatings and starvation and witnessed the deaths of other prisoners.

A few years after his release, he relocated to the United States to become a visiting scholar at University of California-Berkeley. Now an American citizen, Wu has continued to travel to China to document human rights abuses and was detained for 66 days there in 1995 after crossing the border with Kazakhstan.

Wu has written several books, including the autobiographical “Bitter Winds: A Memoir of My Years in China’s Gulag” and “Troublemaker: One Man’s Crusade against China’s Cruelty.”

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