CUSIB Executive Director speaks at Tribute to Harry Wu on Capitol Hill

CUSIB Executive Director Ann Noonan and Co-Director Ted Lipien attended Wednesday May 25, 2016 a tribute in the Library of Congress to late CUSIB board member Harry Wu, at which Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and former Congressman Frank Wolf spoke. Other speakers included Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Annette Lantos Tillemann Dick of Tom Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice, Kaydor Aukatsang, Representative of the Dalai Lama, Peter Mueller, Laogai Research Foundation European Representative, and Ann Noonan. Rep. Chris Smith, who was also present, inserted in the Congressional Record his earlier remarks on the passing of Harry Wu.

Rep. Pelosi said at the event on Capitol Hill that that “when Harry Wu entered our lives, we were in the presence of greatness, greatness of soul, greatness of purpose.” She described Harry Wu as a person “whose years in Chinese labor camps strengthened him and gave him moral authority to speak to us.” Rep. Smith said in his remarks inserted in the Congressional Record that “because of Harry’s commitment to the truth, the stories of [Laogai] survivors were not silenced, but were published for the world to see.”

As a member of CUSIB, Harry Wu had opposed several past BBG decisions to cut or reduce radio and satellite television transmissions to the poorest and most vulnerable audiences in China and Tibet. Annette Lantos, Harry Wu’s supporter, was one of many prominent Americans who in 2012 wrote letters to the Broadcasting Board of Governors opposing proposals for programming cuts to China, Tibet, and Putin’s Russia. Annette Lantos is the widow of former Congressman Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor who had served in the U.S. Congress. He was also Harry Wu’s close friend and supported his human rights work.

ANN NOONAN: Ching Lee and Harrison, please accept my sincere condolences.
My name is Ann Noonan, and I am a Director of the Laogai Research Foundation. My life was blessed more than 20 years ago when I met Harry Wu. I’m honored to be able to say that we were friends, and I will cherish my memories of Harry.


Thank you, Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Harry loved you and respected you tremendously. Thank you, to your staff who selected this venue for Harry’s tribute.


Thank you, former Congressman Frank Wolf for being Harry’s friend, and for forcing Americans to hear the cries of China’s millions of laogai prisoners.


Thank you to Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for being Harry’s friend, and for all of the help and support you have given not only to Harry, but to those who suffer human rights abuse throughout the world


Thank you to Ms. Lantos. Both you and your parents knew the importance of not letting atrocities and the record of human rights violations fade with the passage of time. Harry loved you both dearly.


Thank you to Kerry Kennedy for giving voice to Harry’s words. I can’t say enough about how Harry valued your relationship.
And thank you to everyone here today.


We are here to pay tribute to Harry Wu’s life, and to realize how hard Harry worked to remind the world and its leaders that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.


Harry was the most dedicated advocate of telling the story of how others suffer. It was never about him. He said he was just a survivor. It was about the others, those who had no voice.


The Laogai Museum, along with Harry’s books and his life’s work tells those stories. His efforts give hope not only to those who suffer and should never feel abandoned, but also hope to the rest of us to know that someone cares.


We are all charged with Harry’s call to action to continue his mission.


The Laogai Research Foundation will continue to work on projects that Harry had begun, which include a photo exhibit in Germany, a Tibetan exhibit in the Laogai Museum later this year, meeting with various political and human rights leaders here in the US and in other nations, sponsoring the play “Stones of Tiananmen” about Liu Xiaobo, and researching products that are made in China’s laogai.


Harry had a noble goal to open the first Laogai Museum in Beijing. Imagine someone actually striving to do that, with the purpose of letting the world watch China acknowledge the truth of the laogai, and reject that form of oppression so it not duplicated in China or elsewhere in the world.


There’s so much to be done. We hope we can count on your continued support so Harry’s work and the Laogai’s Research Foundation’s will carry on.


Thank you.