Harry Wu was a 21-year-old student when he was arrested as a “rightist counter revolutionary” and sentenced to life in a labour camp or laogai. It was only after the death of Mao 19 years later that he was released in 1979. He fled to the United States to start a new life but never forgot the horrors he endured. He dedicated much of his life to a campaign for greater recognition of the millions of Chinese people who suffered and died in the laogai and set up the Laogai Research Foundation to gather information on and raise public awareness.
He died in 2016.
Books by Harry Wu
Interviews with Harry Wu
Activist Harry Wu spent 19 years in Mao’s labour camps and devoted years to uncovering what goes on in China’s ‘laogai’ or ‘reform-through-labour’ camps. He picks five books showing China’s darker side.
Interviews where books by Harry Wu were recommended
Most of us associate concentration camps with Nazi Germany, but they are not, in fact, relics of the past or confined to one particular episode of history. Andrea Pitzer, author of One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps, talks us through memoirs and books that illuminate a tool that has been widely used, since the late 19th century, for the mass detention of civilians without trial.