John T. Kamm
On January 20, 2012, the National Committee welcomed John T. Kamm, founder and chairman of the Dui Hua Foundation, to a roundtable program to discuss his work promoting human rights in China. He began by saying that he thinks 2012 will be a difficult year in U.S.-China relations due to the confluence of the U.S. elections and the leadership transition in China. Republican candidates and President Obama are taking very tough positions on China, including in the area of human rights. In Mr. Kamm’s view, recent developments in China demonstrate progress as well as regression in human rights. For example, the new criminal procedure law has very positive provisions with respect to women, juveniles, access to lawyers, and more. For the small percentage of people held for political reasons, however, the new statute is a step backward.
An American businessman and human rights campaigner active in China since 1972, and a former director of the National Committee, Mr. Kamm has won many prizes for his important work, including a MacArthur Fellowship (in 2004) for “designing and implementing an original approach to freeing prisoners of conscience in China.” John Kamm received his B.A. from Princeton University and M.A. from Harvard University. He was the Hong Kong correspondent and representative of the National Council for US-China Trade, and president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong in 1990. He managed Occidental Chemical Company’s business in China and other parts of East Asia from 1981 to 1991. Since his first intervention on behalf of a Chinese prisoner in May 1990, Mr. Kamm has made more than 100 trips to China to engage the government in a dialogue on human rights, focusing on the treatment of prisoners and conditions in prisons. For additional biographical information, please click here.
The Dui Hua Foundation encourages transparency, accountability, and the humanitarian treatment of at-risk detainees in China, including political and religious prisoners, juveniles, death row inmates and women in prison.”