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Chinese journalist Jiang Weiping wins inaugural PEN Canada One Humanity Award

(PEN Canada/IFEX) - The following is a 28 September 2006 PEN Canada press release:

Chinese journalist Jiang Weiping the winner of the inaugural PEN Canada One Humanity Award

Toronto, September 28, 2006 - Chinese journalist and poet Jiang Weiping is the winner of a new cultural award by PEN Canada.

The PEN Canada One Humanity Award honours a writer, journalist, academic or PEN Canada Honorary Member outside of Canada whose work has transcended the boundaries of national divides and inspired connections across cultures. The writings of the individual reflect a belief in the peaceful expression of ideas through any medium.

"Jiang Weiping is highly respected, and the acclaimed winner of the One Humanity Award," said PEN Canada Writers in Prison Committee Chair Alan Cumyn. "An Honorary Member of our organization, he was a leading investigative journalist in China. Jiang now lives in Dalian, where he works as a calligrapher."

Jiang's profile was raised in late 2000 after the Hong Kong-based monthly magazine Qianshao (Frontline) published a number of his articles on corruption in north-eastern China involving high-level officials. One of those officials was prosecuted, while others were acquitted.

Nevertheless, Jiang spent nearly six years in prison for "revealing state secrets". Jiang was freed in January 2006, eleven months prior to his scheduled release. Concerned writers from around the world overwhelmingly voiced their support for Jiang and his principled journalistic work during his incarceration.

As the winner of the inaugural PEN Canada One Humanity Award, Jiang Weiping will receive C$5000.

PEN Canada hopes that Jiang will be able to attend PEN Canada's annual fundraising benefit on October 20 in Toronto to accept the award in person. The gala event will feature readings by Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka as well as award-winning authors Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran), Wayson Choy (The Jade Peony), Mariam Toews (A Complicated Kindness) and M.J. Vassanji (The In-Between World of Vikram Lall).

PEN Canada is the Canadian centre of International PEN, which is a non-political organisation dedicated to the promotion of literature and freedom of expression around the world.

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