The Wei Jingsheng Foundation expresses sorrow for lives lost and suffering for the tsunami victims in South Asia.  We encourage our friends and supporters to give donations and help to these victims by the most secure and direct ways for their rescue and rebuilding effort, or via reputable organizations such as UNICEF and the Red Cross.






Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A99-W40



Release Date: December 30, 2004



Topic: Behind the Scenes Stories -- the Criteria and Reasons to Choose the Winners for the 1st Annual "Wei Jingsheng Chinese Democracy Champion Prize" -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:幕后故事 -- 首届“魏京生基金会中国民主斗士奖”的由来及评奖标准 (魏京生)


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)





Behind the Scenes Stories -- the Criteria and Reasons for Choosing the Winners of the 1st Annual "Wei Jingsheng Chinese Democracy Champion Prize"

-- Wei Jingsheng



Since the Wei Jingsheng Foundation announced its 1st Annual "Wei Jingsheng Chinese Democracy Champion Prize" winners Mr. HU Shigen and Mr. LIU Xianbin, we have received various questions regarding this prize.  Many questions were about why such an award was established and what kinds of criteria were used to select the winners, etc.  Here I would like to make this information known.


First, about why this award was established.  Many governmental and non-governmental organizations in the western democratic countries have their human rights and democracy awards, as a means to encourage the effort and activities of people in various countries for peace, freedom and democracy.  The most well known ones include the Nobel Peace Prize, the Sakharov Prize of Europe, and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Prize of the USA.  In the past, many Chinese including myself have won the prizes.  The action of judging and awarding the prizes has been an effective way to promote democracy and freedom world wide, as well as to encourage the activists for their effort and dedication.  Therefore, the Chinese government is extremely afraid of these types of award activities.  They even have mobilized the "national fanatics" to protest and demonstrate at the Norwegian embassy.  This reaction proves that the award activities indeed apply public pressure to the Chinese Communists, and thus they would use various means to sabotage them.


However, particularly in the past two years, the Western democratic countries headed by the USA have adjusted their foreign policy in an effort to solve issues like Iraq.  They have loosened their pressure against the Chinese Communists with more tolerance.  Such an atmosphere has also affected other arenas, and the Chinese democracy advocates who fought under extremely hard conditions seem to be diluted and disappearing from various award stages.  This reality on one side has really hurt the enthusiasm for human rights and democracy among our Chinese fellows, and on the other side has let the Chinese Communists gain more determination to continue their dictatorship and suppress our countrymen's effort for human rights and freedom.  Many Chinese have wondered why we could not have an award of our own, instead of waiting to be recognized by foreigners.  After all, we know our own heroes even better.   Under the encouragement and financial support of an anonymous donor, and the coordination of several friends, they decided to establish and judge our own "democracy champion prize".  These friends are: Ms. Ciping HUANG, the executive director of the Wei Jingsheng Foundation; Dr. XingYu CHEN, former president of IFCSS (Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars); Dr. JiJie LIU, former Secretary-General of IFCSS; and scientist Dr. BangZheng CHEN.


The next question was what to name the award.  The European Parliament's human rights award is named after Mr. Sakharov, the famous human rights activist of the former USSR.  The award is used to encourage people in a similar rank, and the general public can immediately grasp the meaning of the award by that name.  So it was agreed to use my name, as a well-known Chinese democracy champion, for this award, so as to give the general public both internationally and within China the immediate idea of the winners of the award.  Simple and clear.


After the announcement seeking nominations went out, we received overwhelming responses.  More than one hundred people who care about Chinese democracy and human rights participated in the nominating process and jointly nominated more than one dozen outstanding people who have contributed significantly and sacrificed a lot for Chinese democracy and human rights.  The most often nominated person was Mr. Hu ShiGen, followed by Mr. Liu XianBin.  They also met the criteria of the judges.  The nominations gave credence to the Chinese saying: "People all have sharp eyes"; "Everyone has the right balance".  However, for years these important people known to the Chinese public were excluded from the Western media, and even ignored by the Western human rights organizations. [Editor's note: for example Mr. LIU XianBin was even left out in some of the long lists of the Chinese dissidents in prison, which has caused strong disappointment and reaction from the Chinese democracy advocates inside China.]  Once more, it proves the importance of judging the award by fellow Chinese ourselves.


The judges agreed that the importance of Mr. Hu and Mr. Liu, the fact that others also think they are so important, is due to the following:

1) Most people have already recognized that the key factor for Chinese democratization is the establishment and legal existence of opposition parties.  Without such a condition, a democratic system cannot be established.  The clearly stated human rights and democracy within China's own constitution will not be realized.  The fact that each democracy movement has failed is also due to the lack of an opposition party, the first priority condition.  Therefore, the most important goal for the democracy movement is to legalize an opposition party, which is also the most important goal for us to encourage and the most important goal for the Chinese Communist Party to terminate and suppress.

2) Mr. Hu and Mr. Liu represent two generations of people who made the biggest sacrifice, as well as contributions, in the effort to establish opposition parties.  They are the most outstanding representatives working during the 1990's hot waves of organizing opposition parties.  Yet, their most valuable quality is the fact they devoted all of their energy and effort into the real work, instead of making stir-fries in the overseas news media.  This type of spirit of devotion without selfishness is what we need most for the Chinese democracy movement that is under extreme hardship right now.  It is also what the current Chinese society, which is overcrowded with showbiz and short-term interest, needs.  Their most valuable spirit and qualities have won the admiration of the judges.


However, the debate of the judging is not finished yet.  The other nominees are also very excellent with almost the same contributions and sacrifice, as well as respectful qualities and dignity.  But, the number of awardees could not be increased, so they will be shelved for now until next year's award.  The good news is that not only do we have enthusiastic nominators, but also enthusiastic donors.  Next year, we will select a new awardee as the model of self-sacrifice in the public's interest.


By the way, more than 2/3 of the nominators were from Mainland China.  Shortly after the award, most of them vanished from the phone and the Internet.  Our guess is that the Chinese government has taken measures all over China to cut their communication channels.  To keep the communication channels open, you may contact us through Radio Free Asia, or my office at: 1-202-543-1538.



(The Chinese version was partially broadcasted by Radio Free Asia.  The Wei Jingsheng Foundation is responsible for the English version of the translation.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A99-W40



Release Date: December 25, 2004



Topic: Behind the Scenes Stories -- the Criteria and Reasons to Choose the Winners for the 1st Annual "Wei Jingsheng Chinese Democracy Champion Prize" -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:幕后故事 -- 首届“魏京生基金会中国民主斗士奖”的由来及评奖标准 (魏京生)


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)





幕后故事 -- 首届“魏京生基金会中国民主斗士奖”的由来及评奖标准

-- 魏京生






























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