Dui Hua Foundation
|John Kamm, Chairman|
The Dui Hua Foundation (simplified Chinese: 中美对话基金会, traditional Chinese: 中美對話基金會, pinyin: zhōng měi duì huà jī jīn huì), or Dui Hua, is a San Francisco-based nonprofit humanitarian organization that seeks clemency and better treatment for at-risk detainees through the promotion of universally recognized human rights in a well-informed, mutually respectful dialogue with China. (Dui hua, is pinyin for the Chinese word meaning "dialogue"). Focusing on political and religious prisoners, juvenile justice, women in prison, and criminal justice and death penalty reform, Dui Hua's work rests on the premise that positive change is realized through constructive relationships and exchange.
Dui Hua was founded in April 1999 by John Kamm, a former businessman who also serves as the organization's chairman and executive director. Strong relationships built during his time as a businessman and senior officer of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong helped Kamm build a mutually respectful human rights dialogue with Chinese officials, judges, and legal experts. Having intervened independently on behalf of political and religious prisoners in China since 1990, Kamm founded Dui Hua in an effort to raise public awareness about human rights issues in China and supplement his advocacy work with research, publications, community outreach, and expert exchange.
Inheriting Kamm's close relations with the Chinese government, Dui Hua has also forged strong partnerships with officials from the European Union, the United States, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands and other countries that hold human rights dialogues and consultations with China. Dui Hua's staff frequently travels to Europe, China, and Hong Kong in order to further strengthen its political partnerships and advocacy efforts and remain engaged in the international human rights community.
The Dui Hua Foundation has offices located in San Francisco and Hong Kong.
Special consultative status
Since 2005, Dui Hua has enjoyed "special consultative status" with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), allowing Dui Hua staff to attend meetings of the ECOSOC and related bodies and submit statements and reports. Dui Hua is the only independent, overseas nongovernmental organization focused on China's human rights that holds this status. With its consultative status, Dui Hua has participated in UN sessions including the Human Rights Council and Universal Periodic Review and collaborates with UN Special Procedures mandated Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and the Special Rapporteur on Torture, among others.
Dui Hua seeks clemency and better treatment for at-risk detainees in China through the promotion of universally recognized human rights in a well-informed, mutually respectful dialogue with China. It focuses specifically on political and religious prisoners, juvenile justice, women in prison, and criminal justice and death penalty reform.
Political and religious prisoners
Dui Hua's prisoner-advocacy work began as an effort to uncover the names and secure the early release of activists imprisoned during the crackdown on the pro-democracy demonstrations that culminated on June 4, 1989 in Tiananmen Square. Over the years, Dui Hua's scope has broadened to encompass research and advocacy relevant to individuals detained in China for the non-violent expression of their freedom of speech and association.
Dui Hua maintains a database with information on more than 25,000 political and religious prisoners incarcerated in China since 1980. (Most have been released and are not currently serving prison sentences.) Through research conducted using mostly open-source materials in libraries and on the Internet, Dui Hua collects information on political dissidents, religious practitioners, ethnic minorities, and petitioners who have been convicted of non-violent crimes of speech and association.
Dui Hua directly advocates for individual prisoners by preparing lists of political and religious prisoners believed to be incarcerated in China. Drawing on its prisoner database and years of experience in the selection and presentation of cases, Dui Hua produces many lists each year to be delivered to the Chinese government either directly or through countries and organizations that hold human rights dialogues with China. As a vehicle for expressing concern about individual cases, the lists have directly contributed to better treatment and early release for hundreds of prisoners.
Since its formation, Dui Hua has helped many political and religious prisoners earn sentence reductions, paroles, and early releases. They include Tibetan activist Ngawang Sangdrol and Harvard- and Oxford-educated political scientist Dr. Xu Zerong. In an interview with Hong Kong's Open Magazine in 2011, Dr. Xu talked about his transfer to a better prison and improved overall treatment and said, "All of this was the result of Kamm's negotiations with the authorities." Dui Hua releases press statements regarding its advocacy work and subsequent clemency for prisoners it has represented.
Dui Hua is believed to be the first foreign NGO to host a juvenile justice expert exchange with China's Supreme People's Court (SPC). In 2008, Dui Hua arranged for a delegation of six Chinese judges to visit US juvenile courts, detention facilities, and other institutions. As a testament to its success, the SPC invited Dui Hua to send a return delegation to China in 2010. These exchanges have contributed to reformative steps in China's juvenile justice system in areas such as the sealing of records, diversion, and behavioral and psychological assessments of juvenile offenders. Dui Hua's close working relationship with the SPC ensures that future criminal and juvenile justice initiatives will take place, leading to more concrete systemic reforms.
Women in prison
Dui Hua actively promotes reform in the area of women prisoners in China. The organization held an expert-led seminar in Hong Kong on the Bangkok Rules (Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders) in February 2014. Dui Hua continually conducts in-depth research on women prisoners and prisons.
Dui Hua regularly engages in dialogue with both Chinese and international politicians and experts on China's Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law (CPL). On November 3, 2011, Kamm testified to the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs on behalf of political prisoners following the release of proposed amendments to the CPL.
Dui Hua has actively promoted death penalty reform in China since 2005. In December 2011, Dui Hua released what is believed to be the most accurate statistic on the number of yearly executions in China. Dui Hua believes that approximately 4,000 executions took place in China in 2011, down about 50 percent since the Supreme People's Court regained its power of final review over death sentences in 2007. Dui Hua's estimate garnered widespread media coverage and was cited as "rare data" by Agence France-Presse.
Dui Hua regularly posts commentary, analysis, and translation about human rights and rule of law in China on its blog, Human Rights Journal.
It also publishes Dialogue, a quarterly newsletter featuring articles on human rights issues relevant to its mission and recent activities. Dialogue articles are often about bilateral human rights dialogues with China, international relations, human rights concerns shared by the United States and China, prisoner updates, and research findings.
Reference Materials on China's Criminal Justice System is a bilingual, limited distribution publication compiling information on prisoner cases, criminal justice statistics and regulations, and commentaries uncovered by Dui Hua's researchers in open-source publications and documents issued or approved by Chinese government bodies. It is distributed several times a year to select individuals within governments, international bodies, nongovernmental organizations, academia, and other institutions that monitor human rights in China.
Published from 1999 to 2008, Occasional Publications featured little-known criminal justice statistics and raised the names of close to 1,000 detainees, most of whom were previously unheard of outside of China. It is now available for purchase in four series, totaling 27 volumes.
- "About Dui Hua".
- "Dui Hua :: Special Consultative Status with UN".
- "Dui Hua Human Rights Journal: Dui Hua’s Observations from Universal Periodic Review of US Human Rights Record".
- "Statement on the Release of Ngawang Sangdrol".
- "Dui Hua Human Rights Journal: Xu Zerong: With American Attention … All Prisoners Benefit".
- "Dui Hua Hosts Juvenile Justice Delegation from China".
- "China’s Women’s Prisons: Areas for Improvement".
- "Separate and Unequal: State Security Detainees in China".
- "Dui Hua Estimates 4,000 Executions in China, Welcomes Open Dialogue".
- "Dui Hua Human Rights Journal".
- "Dialogue — Issue 46, Winter 2012".
- "Reference Materials".
- "Publications for Purchase".