Jennifer Zeng – Jennifer Zeng is a mainland Chinese-born human rights activist, journalist and author, best known for her practice of Falun Gong, the subsequent government suppression of the movement, and the best-selling book she wrote about her experience regarding Falun Gong: Witnessing History: One Chinese Woman’s Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong.
A mother and former Communist Party member, Jennifer was imprisoned for her faith. As she endures physical and mental torture, she has to decide: does she stand her ground and languish in jail, or does she recant her belief so she can tell her story to the world? Her compelling and inspiring personal story is the subject of the award-winning film “Free China: The Courage to Believe.”
Ms. Zeng has a Bachelor of Science in geochemistry and she went on to receive a Master of Science in geochemistry from Peking University. She now resides in New York.
Dr. Charles Lee – A medical doctor by training, Charles Lee currently serves as a spokesperson for the New York-based Global Center for Quitting the Chinese Communist Party. Born in China in 1965, he experienced the Cultural Revolution first hand, then began medical studies at Sun Yatsen University of Medical Sciences, where he obtained a Bachelors in Medicine. Disillusioned with the CCP after the 1989 crackdown on the prodemocracy movement, he moved to the United States.
In America, Charles came across the Falun Gong spiritual discipline and began practicing wholeheartedly. In 1999, when the CCP began persecuting Falun Gong, Charles took particular note of the lies and slander being disseminated by the Party’s propaganda apparatus. He realized that to stop the persecution, it was essential to help Chinese people understand the truth about Falun Gong. In 2002, Charles decided to do this by electronically tapping into the Party-controlled cable television system and broadcasting uncensored programming. He was arrested in October 2002, but managed to escape and return to the United States. However, having been unable to accomplish what he intended to do, he went back again in January 2003 and was captured again.
Despite the intense pressure to renounce his beliefs, Charles never cooperated with the prison guards. After his release from prison in January 2006, he returned to the United States. Since then, he has been actively working and traveling the world to expose the reality of the persecution and share what he personally witnessed and experienced, including severe torture and slave labor, making amongst other things, Homer Simpson slippers for export to the West. He has spoken at universities, been interviewed on television and recently featured in the award-winning film Free China. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter.
Congressman Chris Smith – Elected in 1980, Rep. Chris Smith (R-Robbinsville, N.J.) is currently in his 17th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and serves residents in the Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey. Smith, 59, currently serves as a senior member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and is chairman of its Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization Subcommittee.
In 2011-2012 he chaired both the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He also serves as “Special Representative” on Human Trafficking for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and as an executive member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Previously, he served as Chairman of the Veterans Committee (two terms) and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Operations and the Subcommittee on Africa.
A lifelong New Jerseyan, Congressman Smith graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in business administration. Prior to being elected to Congress, he helped run a small business– his family’s wholesale sporting goods corporation. He is also the former Executive Director of the New Jersey Right to Life Committee.
The congressman is married to his wife of 35 years, Marie, and they have four grown children.
Hon. David Kilgour – David Kilgour is co-chair of the Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran, past chair of the Latin America and Caribbean policy working group of the Ottawa branch of the Canadian International Council, a director of the Washington-based Council for a Community of Democracies (CCD), a Fellow of the Queen’s University Centre for the Study of Democracy, a director of the New York-based NGO Advancing Human Rights and a director of the Ottawa Mission Foundation.
First elected to the House of Commons in 1979, he was re-elected seven times, most recently in 2004, for the south-east region of Edmonton. During his time in Parliament, he was Deputy Speaker and Chair of the Committees of the Whole House, Secretary of State for Latin America & Africa (1997-2002) and Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific (2002-2003). He did not stand in the 2006 election.
David remains active on issues of human dignity. A 2007 book, Uneasy Neighbo(u)rs, co-authored with David Jones, a former American diplomat, discusses the relationship of Canada and the USA. In 2009, he published with David Matas Bloody Harvest-The Killing of Falun Gong for their Organs. He and Matas were awarded the 2009 Human Rights Prize of the International Society for Human Rights in Switzerland for their work in raising awareness of state-sponsored organ pillaging in China. In 2010, he was been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work related to the investigation of organ harvesting crimes against Falun Gong practitioners in China.
David is married to his wife of 39 years, Laura, and they have four grown children. For further information, see: www.david-kilgour.com
Ethan Gutmann (Foundation for Defense of Democracies, DC.) Characterized as a “mammoth sociological, political whistleblower” by National Review, Ethan Gutmann is the author of Losing the New China: A Story of American Commerce, Desire and Betrayal.
Following Encounter Books first printing in 2004, and subsequent translation into Chinese by Taiwan-based Broad Press, Gutmann’s book garnered several awards, including the “Spirit of Tiananmen,” New York Sun’s “Best Book of the year,” and the “Chan’s Journalism Award” for outstanding writing. At the government and intelligence level, Gutmann’s seminal research into Chinese Internet surveillance, the Laogai System, and the intersection of western business with Chinese security objectives has received sustained attention in Washington, London and Brussels.
Formerly a Senior Counselor at APCO China and a Visiting Fellow at Project for the New American Century, Ethan Gutmann has also written widely on Chinese military development, human rights, the US business scene in Beijing and the recent hacking phenomenon for The Asian Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, The Weekly Standard, National Review, World Affairs Journal, and other publications.
In the 1990s, Ethan Gutmann served as Chief Investigator for the AV network, directing “American Investigator,” a documentary series. In the 1980s, Gutmann specialized in arms control and dynamic modeling as a foreign policy analyst at the Brookings Institution. Gutmann completed both a B.A. and a Master of International Affairs at Columbia University.
Assisted by research funding from the Earhart Foundation and the Peder Wallenberg family, Ethan Gutmann is currently completing a comprehensive history of the clash between Falun Gong and the Chinese state. In addition, with a travel grant awarded from the National Endowment for Democracy, Gutmann is currently researching the Chinese-Uyghur conflict, and the underlying ambiguity of the Chinese Communist Party’s stance towards the Islamist global challenge.