John Kamm is an American businessman and human rights activist. He is the founder and Executive Director of The Dui Hua Foundation, a nonprofit humanitarian organization that promotes universal human rights in well-informed, mutually respectful dialogue with China. He is credited with having helped hundreds of political and religious prisoners in China. 

Since his first intervention on behalf of a Chinese political prisoner in May 1990, Kamm has made more than 100 trips to China to engage the Chinese government in a dialogue on human rights issues, focusing on the treatment of political prisoners and prison conditions. He has made ten visits to Chinese prisons and has submitted requests for information on more than 2,000 prisoners. In an article about Kamm for The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Tina Rosenberg wrote: “No other person or organization in the world, including the State Department, has helped more Chinese prisoners.”

John Kamm Remembers are stories written by John recounting his advocacy work on behalf of Chinese prisoners of conscience both prior to and since founding The Dui Hua Foundation in 1999. From these stories, you will see how an American business man turned human rights activist established a dialogue on human rights with the Chinese government to advocate for  prisoners of conscience.

The Dui Hua Foundation 

Dui Hua (对话, meaning “dialogue” in Chinese) is a 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. Focusing on political and religious prisoners, juvenile justice, women in prison, and issues in criminal justice, our work rests on the premise that positive change is realized through constructive relationships and exchange.

Established in 1999, Dui Hua achieves its mission through five approaches: advocacy, expert exchange, research, publications, and community engagement. With offices in San Francisco and Hong Kong, and a deep understanding of both Western and Chinese society and politics, Dui Hua engages in and facilitates dialogue that advances the rights of at-risk detainees. As a testament to our work, Dui Hua enjoys special consultative status with the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council and is the only independent NGO focused on human rights in China to have such status.

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