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MacArthur Foundation Awards Fellowship to Xiao Qiang

October 24, 2001

Xiao Qiang, Executive Director of Human Rights in China (HRIC), has been named a recipient of a 2001 MacArthur Fellowship, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today. The MacArthur Fellowship is a stipend paid over five years to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits, and a marked capacity for self-direction.

Although an individual award, I want to thank the MacArthur Foundation for recognizing the importance of Human Rights in China's work. I especially appreciate the Foundation's unique role in recognizing and supporting human creativity. This fellowship also affirms the most precious value of our times: human solidarity.

"I accept this extraordinary honor with deep gratitude to the two countries I love: China, where I was born and raised, and America where I live now. I cherish values of free expression, creativity, and human dignity; and commit myself to continue to work for the full realization of these values in China," Xiao said.

Xiao, a self-exile, has served as HRIC's Executive Director since 1991. HRIC is an international NGO organization founded by Chinese scientists and scholars in March 1989. HRIC monitors the implementation of international rights standards in the PRC and carries out human rights education and advocacy among Chinese people in China and abroad. It is recognized as a source for reliable information about persecution of prisoners of conscience, and violations of workers, migrants, women and children's rights by the Chinese government.

"I am most grateful to everyone who has supported the organization over the last decade, and all my HRIC colleagues, especially Liu Qing, President of HRIC, whose courage and commitment is the guiding force behind our organization. I also express my thanks to the international human rights community. At this special moment, my thoughts are with each prisoner of conscience in China and those that lost their lives or lost their loved ones during the Tiananmen Massacre. They are the reason and inspiration for my work," Xiao said.

Xiao Qiang received a B.S. from the University of Science and Technology of China and studied astrophysics (1986-1989) at the University of Notre Dame. Two days after the Tiananmen Square massacre, he traveled to China with contributions for the victims' families from supporters in the United States. After his return to the U.S. two months later, Xiao became a full-time human rights worker, first for the Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars in Washington, D.C., and then for Human Rights in China. He has spoken on behalf of the Chinese human rights movement at each meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights since 1993.

Xiao Qiang joins a distinguished list of 2001 recipients including Kay Redfield Jamison, a psychologist whose compelling writings and clinical research greatly enhance our understanding of suicide and other serious mental disorders; Michael Dickinson, a biologist constructing original experimental instruments to reveal the complexities of insect flight; Cynthia Moss, a natural historian studying for more than thirty years the ecology and social behavior of over 1000 wild African elephants at the Amboseli National Park in Kenya; and Stephen Hough, a concert pianist revealing masterworks from the pens of less well known composers from the past and challenging compositions from those of the present.

The MacArthur Fellows Program is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations. In keeping with this purpose, the Foundation awards fellowships directly to individuals rather than through institutions. Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, activists, or workers in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations. They may use their fellowship to advance their expertise, engage in interdisciplinary work, or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, with assets of about $4 billion, is a private, independent grant-making institution dedicated to helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvement in the human condition.