Wei Jingsheng Biography
Claim to Fame: Chinese activist, writer and dissident
DOB: May 20, 1950
Diabetes Type: Unknown
Wei Jinsheng is a human rights activist, political dissident, and member of the Chinese democracy movement. Born in Beijing in 1950, Wei came of age during the reign of Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution. In 1966, at the age of 16, Wei was forced into the Red Guard, an army of students and young people created to carry out the agenda of Mao and the Communist Party of China. However, as the Cultural Revolution began to dwindle, Wei became more outspoken against the Communist Party.
In 1978, Wei made his frustrations known when he posted his Fifth Modernization document on the "Democracy Wall" in Beijing. The document drew upon the Communist Party's own platform for modernization by re-stating the need for agriculture, industry, national defense, science and technology. However, Wei's document diverged from the Communist platform by stating that democracy was a greater necessity to modernization. As a result of his Fifth Modernization, Wei was arrested and imprisoned for fifteen years.
Upon his release in 1994, Wei resumed his activist efforts, speaking out against China's human rights violations. The Chinese government harassed Wei, stating that his activism was in violation of his parole. Not easily silenced, Wei contacted United States Assistant Secretary of Human Rights John Shattuck. As soon as the government heard of Wei's connection to Shattuck, he was arrested and forced into exile. Wei attempted to return to Beijing, was imprisoned and, thanks to Bill Clinton and the assistance of the United States, was deported to America. Wei continued to speak out about human rights violations being committed by the Chinese Communist Party.
Wei Jingsheng has been celebrated for his human rights efforts, winning the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Human Rights Award in 1996, and the National Endowment for Democracy Award in 1997, and he has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize since 1993. Wei has been given the title of "Father of Chinese Democracy" and the "Nelson Mandela of China" by his supporters due largely to his role in founding the Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition in 1998.
- Wei Jingsheng. Org. Wei Jingsheng. http://www.weijingsheng.org/wei/en.html (Accessed 10/17/11)
- More or Less: Heroes and Killers of the 20th Century. Wei Jingsheng. http://www.moreorless.au.com/heroes/wei.html (Accessed 10/17/11)
- Architects of Peace Foundation. Wei Jingsheng Biography. http://www.architectsofpeace.org/architects-of-peace/wei-jingsheng (Accessed 10/18/11)
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