By VOA Journalist Yuzhou
March 2, 2021
Laogai Research Foundation issued “Festival condolences” to some political prisoners and their families in China for the first time during the Spring Festival this year. This is also part of a new project added in October last year as the “Small Humanitarian Aid”, which aims to help political prisoners, prisoners of conscience and their families, extend and renovate the human rights legacy left by Harry Wu Hongda.
Song Yongyi, a board member of the Laogai Research Foundation, told the Voice of America that the Chinese government has increased its suppression of civil society and further tightened control over speech. The Laogai Foundation will continue to work tirelessly to support victims.
Yang Zili, who was imprisoned by the Chinese government for the crime of “subverting the power”, is now a staff member of the Laogai Research Foundation, and is also responsible for the new aid project of the institution-the small aid project and its Spring Festival condolences.
He told VOA that the small-amount aid project is not large, and the “Laogai Human Rights Organization” is responsible for the funding, that is, the original “Yahoo Human Rights Fund”, will approve the distribution. If applicants have special needs, we will direct them to other institutions.
In fact, the humanitarian assistance provided by the Laogai Research Foundation is divided into two ways.
The part that has always existed is “humanitarian aid funding”, which is carried out indirectly through third-party organizations. A statement from the Laogai Research Foundation stated that “humanitarian aid funding” is used to support victims in mainland China due to political, religious, human rights and other reasons; it aims to help victims in China by assisting human rights institutions registered in the United States.
Those third-party human rights organizations that have received financial assistance from the Laogai Research Foundation include the Independent Chinese PEN Center, the Support Network for the Persecuted in China (SNP, Australia), the Chinese Democracy Education Foundation (CDEF), and the Minnesota Chinese Democracy Foundation.
During the one year period from 2000 to 2021, the Laogai Research Foundation has issued a total of nearly 40,000 US dollars through a third party, helping about 70 or 80 people, of which more than 40 people have been rescued through the Independent Chinese PEN Center. In addition, the funding provided by the Laogai Research Foundation in the past year included 12 family members of June 4th victims and 6 members of “Tiananmen Mothers”.
On the basis of third-party assistance, the Laogai Foundation added small-scale assistance channels to directly assist political victims since the end of last year.