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Defending human rights is a tough business in China. Many who do so are often suppressed by the Chinese regime. Despite the risks, rights lawyers Teng Biao and Jiang Tianyong have dedicated their careers to defending human rights. Now their efforts have been recognized, named the recipients for an award that has been given before to individuals like the Dalai Lama and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.
Two Chinese rights lawyers are being recognized for their work, but they’re not expected to travel overseas to receive their award. Lawyers Jiang Tianyong and Tengbiao are winners of this year’s Prize for Outstanding Democracy Activist, given by the U.S.-based China Democracy Education Foundation, or CDEF.
Teng Biao is a co-founder a Gongmeng, a China-based organization that aims to promote the rule of law and social justice. Teng has been involved in cases like representing victims of the 2008 toxic milk scandal in compensation lawsuits.
Jiang Tianyong is another notable Chinese rights lawyer. He has worked with disadvantaged groups like patients with AIDS and slave child labor, as well as representing members of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement persecuted by the Chinese regime.
Jiang appeared modest at the news of his award.
[Jiang Tianyong, Winner of Prize for Outstanding Democracy Activist]:
“I’m only being a true person, and all I want is to speak the truth, and act according to my conscience. It’s really nothing. I’m really grateful to all those who have looked out for me, and worked to create a better life for Chinese people. Thank you all.”
The CDEF award will be presented on September 10 in San Francisco. The lawyers are not expected to receive their award in person because of the travel restrictions imposed on them.