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Harry Wu, Former Chinese Political Prisoner, to Discuss U.S.-China Relations in Louisville

Harry Wu, a former Chinese political prisoner and later a human rights activist, will discuss U.S.-China relations on Jan. 23 at the Brown & Williamson Club at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.The speech, called "In the Mouth of the Dragon: U.S. and China Relations in the 21st Century," is sponsored by the UofL Center for Asian Democracy.Wu was a Chinese political prisoner for 19 years starting in 1960. He later came to the United States and founded the Washington, D.C.-based Laogai Research Foundation, which aims to raise awareness of China's system of forced labor camps.In 2009, London's The Independent excerptedparts of Wu's story from the book Nine Lives: Making the Impossible Possible. Wu writes that he was sent to a prison camp for expressing seemingly innocuous views at school that were contrary to Chinese policy. In Chinese labour camps, there is no freedom, despite the camp slogan "Labour Makes a New Life", similar to the words above the entry gates of German concentration camps: "Arbeit Macht Frei". The last few years I was working in a coalmine, doing shifts of 12 hours a day. One time, after seeing a burial of fellow inmates, I thought: "Human life has no value here. It has no more importance than a cigarette ash flicked in the wind."Wu's talk is free and open to the public, but U of L asks that people interested in attending register for tickets at 852-2667 or by e-mailing cad@louisville.edu.

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.