I have probably neglected this blog too long. My volunteer duties with AIUSA continue to occupy a lot of my time in addition to my day job and personal life. I felt really guilty about not writing on the blog but after a while, I realized something has to be put on the back burner to keep myself sane. The other reason is that my blog would never be the first to put up any new info. I would rather save my time to write something in depth and that has real meaning to me.

The moment came as the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo. I knew about his nomination but I didn’t put up any high hopes as many other human rights activists from China have been nominated in the past. Therefore, this year’s award announcement was really a surprise to me. It seemed that Amnesty International was caught off guard, too. They got to work really quickly on the day of the announcement though. I received several emails on that day from the researchers in the UK. It’s quite unusual. I am really glad that the Nobel Peace Prize is returning to its roots to focus on human rights and the defenders of ordinary people.

Recently, I had a chance to hold an event on Liu Xiaobo where I showed several video clips I found online:

There were several young Chinese college students in attendance in addition to several older Chinese adults and Tibetans. The students were among the few that didn’t sign the petition I put on the tables. I don’t blame them. On the other hand, I wonder how much they knew about Liu Xiaobo and especially the 1989 Tiananmen protest before the event. They certainly have better access to information in the US than back home. But are they even interested in the issue?

I hope that the attention for Liu Xiaobo would translate to more attention to the human rights issues in China. There is even more urgency to get attention for Mao Hengfeng who is serving Re-education Through Labor after protesting Liu’s trial. Mao is one of the cases highlighted in the Amnesty International Global Write-a-thon. This is one of the few occasions in the year that has the potential to generate thousands of letters. The letters might bring an end to the torture Mao is experiencing while in detention. Take action online or send letters to China. Take your pick! Mao Hengfeng is one of the thousands in China who deserves our attention now.

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