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Han Dongfang (born 1963) has been an advocate for workers' rights in China for more than two decades during which time he has won numerous international awards including the 1993 Democracy Award from the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy.
Born in the impoverished village of Nanweiquan in Shanxi, Han first came to international prominence when, as a railway worker in Beijing, he helped set up the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Federation (BWAF) during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. The BWAF was the People's Republic of China's first independent trade union, established as an alternative to the Party-controlled All-China Federation of Trade Unions.
The BWAF was disbanded after the June 4 crackdown, and Han was placed at the top of the Chinese government’s most wanted list. Han turned himself into the police and was imprisoned for 22 months without trial until he contacted tuberculosis in prison and was released in April 1991. He spent a year in the U.S. undergoing medical treatment before returning to China in August 1993. On his return, he was arrested in Guangzhou and expelled to Hong Kong, where he still lives today.
In addition to his work at CLB, Han conducts regular interviews with workers and peasants across China on Radio Free Asia. These interviews give insight into lives of workers in China are broadcast across China three times weekly on shortwave radio.
- Hans-Heinrich Bass, Markus Wauschkuhn und Karl Wohlmuth: Menschenrechte, Arbeitsverhältnisse und Gewerkschaften in China – internationale Perspektiven, herausgegeben aus Anlass der Verleihung des 5. Bremer Solidaritätspreises an Han Dongfang, Berichte des Arbeitsbereichs Chinaforschung im Institut für Weltwirtschaft und Internationales Management der Universität Bremen, Nr. 6, 1996, ISSN 0947-7977
- Staff writer. "Interview with Han Dongfang, Chinese Labor Advocate". humanrightsfirst.org. Human Rights First. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
- Chang, Jennifer (May–June 2005). "Han Dongfang: Bringing China's Labor Movement to Light". The Wordly. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
- Dongfang, Han (interviewee) (July–August 2005). "Chinese labor struggles". New Left Review. New Left Review. II (34).
- Dongfang, Han (June 2008). "The prospects for legal enforcement of labor rights in China today - a glass half full". cecc.gov. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC). Archived from the original on 22 February 2013. Statement by Han to the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China
- Dongfang, Han (June 17, 2010). "The Opinion Pages: China's workers are stirring". The New York Times. The New York Times Company.
- Han Dongfang's Youtube page – videos of Han's call-in program with Radio Free Asia (Mandarin language)
- Social Justice and Harmony in China: Trade Union Movement – talk by Han to UCLA International Institute on June 2, 2005
- When will we have Free Unions in China? Online video of speech given in February 2007 in Montreal.
- Speech by Han on unions to SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West on March 8, 2008