Yahoo! Human Rights Fund
In partnership with the Laogai Research Foundation
(LRF), Yahoo! created a Human Rights Fund to provide humanitarian and legal support to political dissidents who have been imprisoned for expressing their views online, as well as assistance for their families.
Laogai Research Foundation
The LRF was established in 1992 by Laogai survivor Harry Wu
to document and raise public awareness of the Laogai, China’s extensive system of forced-labor prison camps. LRF also documents and publicize other systemic human rights violations in China, including Internet censorship and surveillance.
The LRF is an invaluable source of information for scholars, journalists and activists. It hosts the Laogai Museum
, which opened in November 2008 with the support of the Yahoo! Human Rights Fund, and is the first museum in the United States wholly dedicated to the issue of human rights in China.
In late 2009, the LRF will open the Laogai Archives
. Much of the material held by the Laogai Archives is unavailable to researchers in mainland China. The Laogai Archives will provide invaluable primary sources to advance public knowledge about human rights in China, including:
- Chinese government documents, including internal and classified documents
- Personal testimonies of Laogai survivors
- Original research
- Post-1949 artifacts
Harry Wu was a political prisoner in China's Laogai system for 19 years. During his incarceration, he survived torture and starvation, and was forced to bear witness to the deaths of fellow prisoners. Wu was released in 1979, and moved to the United States, where he has dedicated his life to exposing the truth about the Laogai - the most extensive forced labor system in the world. He has repeatedly risked his life returning to China to document human rights abuses. A 1995 visit to China resulted in Wu's re-arrest. He was convicted of “stealing state secrets,” sentenced to 15 years in prison, and was then expelled.
Harry Wu continues to be a fearless and irrepressible advocate for human rights, and has been honored for his work by many organizations, including the Hungarian Freedom Fighters' Federation, the Dutch World War II Resistance Foundation and the Oslo Freedom Forum.
To learn more about Harry Wu, read his memoir entitled Bitter Winds: A Memoir of My Years in China’s Gulag