Since 2004, the Wei Jingsheng Foundation has awarded the "Wei Jingsheng Chinese Democracy Champion Prize" every year on December 5th. In the last five years, the awarding of this prize has had reverberations around the world. Those persisting in the fight in China, who are at any moment in life-threatening danger, have been thus encouraged and consoled.
We have received excellent nominations for this year's prize. They are (listed alphabetically):
1) CHEN TianShi;
2) DENG YuJiao;
3) HUANG Qi;
4) QI ZhiYong;
5) YANG TianShui.
As can be expected, those who nominate a candidate believe the person they have nominated has made a great contribution to the cause of Chinese Democracy. Nominating someone is in and of itself a way to commend all champions of democracy, including those unknown, untiring democracy heroes who do not concern themselves with fame and fortune. We have great respect for their strength of spirit and the sacrifices they have made. As in the past 5 years, this year's award gives greatest consideration to those individuals and groups who have persisted in their work on the domestic democracy movement inside China.
As the Berlin Wall was pushed over 20 years ago, along with the collapse of the Soviet Union, we want to remind people that the other half of the autocratic bloc under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party is still there. It stubbornly resists the democratic currents of the world, meanwhile exploiting and enslave nearly half of the world population. By using many more resources than were used to build the Berlin Wall, the Chinese Communist government builds Internet firewalls to block the will of freedom. Nevertheless, the unbending Chinese people are sacrifice their own freedom to push over this huge wall to gain freedom for all.
Therefore, the Wei Jingsheng Foundation "Wei Jingsheng Chinese Democracy Champion Prize" Judging Committee announces this year's prize to be awarded to Mr. HUANG Qi and Mr. YANG TianShui, for their work and effort to push for freedom inside of China, especially Internet freedom. By using the Internet in various ways, they have made progress in gaining the essential freedom and human rights for our fellow Chinese people.
HUANG Qi was born in 1963 in Sichuan Province. He built the "64TianWang" website in China in 1999 and is one of the first Chinese citizens to serve a jail sentence due to his Internet work. He was arrested on June 3, 2000 and received a 5 year sentence nearly 3 years later. After his release, Huang Qi did not give up and still served the people by Internet. After the May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, he wrote articles that were published on the Internet exposing the low quality school housing in the earthquake area. On June 10, 2008, Huang was forced into a car and taken away. On November 23, 2009, Huang Qi received a new 3 year sentence.
YANG Tianshui was born in 1961 in JiangSu Province with the birth name of YANG TongYan. He attended the democratic movement in the NanJing area in the summer of 1989. In the early half of 1990, he co-founded the "China Democratic Alliance" with some friends. On June 1, 1990, he was arrested and sentenced for 10 years. After he finished his prison term in 2000, he kept his democratic ideals and also practiced them in action. In particular he wrote and distributed articles and materials by using the Internet. On May 16, 2006, YANG was sentenced for 12 years in the name of "Inciting subversion of the state". For more details of these two human rights champions, please read the prize dedication to them by Ms. HUANG Ciping: "The Oak Leaves that Never Fall in the Winter".
This year's honoring to Huang Qi and Yang Tianshui is also an honoring to all the people who use the Internet to gain freedom and human rights. All the members of the Wei Jingsheng Foundation "Wei Jingsheng Chinese Democracy Champion Prize" Judging Committee have nearly two decades of Internet technical expertise, as well as experience in using the Internet to gain freedom of speech. Thus, we believe that by pushing for Internet freedom, we shall be able to ultimately bring a free press and free speech, thus a full-scale freedom and democracy in China. Exactly for this reason, we are here to specially honor the excellent heroes like Huang Qi and Yang Tianshui for their effort and actions. We want to set them as examples for all of us.
This year's award money donated by individuals totaled $4100. Those who donated money are donating their passion and belief for Chinese democracy; for this passion we want to express our deepest gratitude. In addition we also want to express our appreciation to all those people who recommended nominees for our Sixth Annual "Wei Jingsheng Chinese Democracy Champion Prize." We thank all of you for your support and encouragement.