By Yang Fan
It is reported that the Board of the Laogai Research Foundation (LRF) recently decided to award the individual research fellowship to seven Chinese American artists and writers.Among them is a well-known sculptor, Mr. Chen Weiming. In recent years, he has created the “Freedom Sculpture Park” by the Los Angeles-Las Vegas highway. Theongoing project for which he was awarded the LRF fellowship is the large-scale “CCP VirusVictimsMemorial.”
Another four writers and translators received publication funding. One is the writer and artist Ms. Xiang Li who fled from the Mainland to the United States not long ago.Her memoir “Jasmine Blossoms” was recommended by Su Xiaokangfor the fellowship award. Su wrote, “This book is a unique historical record from human rights defenders’ perspective about the human rights struggles in mainland China from 2010 to 2020.”
The other three winning writers are Mr. Yu Jie, Mr. Pei Yiran, and Mr. Huang Wen. Mr. Huang Wen will translate and publishZhagana, Zhagana, a novel by the renowned mainland writer Yan Shan, which bears testimony to China’s brutal policies on Tibet and suppression of dissent with its notorious Laogai system in the 1950s.
Li Su, the former host of the VOA’s “Decryption Moment” column, has also received funding.He is working on the “Looking Back on the Cultural Revolution” video series as part of the “Forbidden History” column to be aired on his own Hi5 YouTube channel.
Since the establishment of the new LRF Board in 2018, humanitarian assistance to victims in China and funding for human rights research by overseas scholars and human rights activists have been their priorities. In the 2018 fiscal year, project funds reached more than 96,000 U.S. dollars (exceeding the salaries of all the staff of the LRF of 80,000 U.S. dollars). Among them, the amount delivered to the victims directly or through well-known human rights organizations, such as the Writers in Prison and Freedom to Write Committee (WiPC) of Independent Chinese PEN, was about 45,000 U.S. dollars, benefiting more than 50 people.The Foundation received thank-you letters from the “Tiananmen Mothers” and other victims in mainland China.
In the 2019 fiscal year, the Foundation also added new partners,includingthe Chinese Democracy Education Foundation in Californiaand the Support Network for the Victims of China’s Political and Religious Persecutionin Australia.It is expected that an increasing number of mainland victims will receive humanitarian assistance from the LRF.