Jiang Weiping, China

International Press Freedom Awards

Jiang Weiping is a 2001 International Press Freedom Award winner and veteran journalist. Jiang was jailed in China on charges of “revealing state secrets” and sentenced to nine years in prison following a secret trial held on September 5, 2001. He is former Dalian bureau chief for the newspaper Wen Hui Bao and reporter for the state news agency Xinhua. Jiang was detained in December 2000 after writing a series of articles exposing government corruption for the Hong Kong tabloid Front-Line.

Jiang traveled to New York on Tuesday November 24, 2009 to receive his award.

Here are Jiang Weiping’s prepared remarks for the International Press Freedom Awards ceremony:

Good evening. I am happy and honored to attend tonight’s event.

November 2001 was the most difficult time in my life. It was a very cold winter in Northern China, and I had been incarcerated for almost a year for publishing articles exposing government corruption. I was denied family visits. I was denied reading matter. I knew nothing of what was happening outside. Then one night, my wife sent me a short note through a kind and fair-minded prison guard. It said the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York had honored me with an International Press Freedom Award, along with three other journalists. It was a big surprise and a tremendous support to me in the dark. The award was a great encouragement, not just to me, but to all journalists in China in pursuit of press freedom.

Allow me to express my belated, but sincere thanks to all of you for your strong support of press freedom worldwide!

I would like to thank CPJ, for your consistent support of a free press in China, and for your hard work to protect journalists in every corner of the world.

I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to my wife, Stella Lee. Stella, thank you for your deep understanding, your unfailing love and your support that gave me the strength to carry on!

In over five years of imprisonment, and three years of security surveillance after my release, I experienced hunger, serious illness, and harassment. But my vision for a free press in China never failed. The pen in my hand has not been broken.

Today, I have my freedom, but there are still 26 of my colleagues in China still in prison for doing their duty. Some of them are in difficult, even dangerous conditions. They need our attention and support. We should not hesitate in petitioning for their release.

The work is hard, but it has to be done.

Thank you.