2012 Civil Courage Prize Honoree
Yu Jie of China
Author and advocate for reform in China
Yu Jie is an award-winning writer and notable figure in Chinese pro-democracy efforts. In January 2012, after a year of house arrest and torture that almost cost him his life, he emigrated to the United States to continue his work.
Yu Jie is a close friend and associate of Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate who is serving an 11-year prison sentence. Mr. Yu and Mr. Liu collaborated on Charter 08, a manifesto calling on the Communist Party of China to adopt gradual political reforms. Mr. Yu, who converted to Christianity in 2003, had extensive input on the sections about religious freedom.
Yu Jie’s biography of Liu Xiaobo has recently been published in Hong Kong.
Calling himself a "true Patriot," Mr. Yu has vowed to use his new-found freedom to continue to write works "that will not betray the expectations of my friends” and that will "put forth my voice on the broader international platform on behalf of the struggle for democracy and freedom in China." He is currently at work on a critique of Hu Jintao, the president of China.
Mr. Yu was born in 1973 in Sichuan and wrote his first book at age 13. He received a Master's degree from Peking University in 2000. Professor Xia Xiaohong, of the Faculty of Literature of Peking University, said: "Yu Jie has an acute and sharp genre of thought. His essays have an internal charm and power. He writes better than writers who have written their whole lives."
Mr. Yu is a member of the Beijing Ark Church, a Protestant house church. In May 2006, he met with U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House as a dissident and a house church practitioner.
An award ceremony will be held in New York on October 17, 2012.
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