10 Things You Didn’t Know About Jiang Weiping & Family

Considered as one of the most influential figures in Chinese contemporary society, Jiang Weiping and his family have consistently been in the limelight, owing to his career, advocacy, and deep-rooted commitment to public service. However, there may be a wealth of knowledge about this prominent family you’re yet to uncover.

In this enlightening piece, we take a look beyond the surface, revealing ten intriguing facts about Jiang Weiping and his family that you probably didn’t know.

1. A Career Beginning as a Journalist

In the early stages of his career, Jiang Weiping was a prolific journalist recognized for his tremendous courage and commitment to exposing corruption at the government’s senior levels. Little known to many, his work often led to some powerful individuals’ downfall, earning him both notoriety and respect within Chinese society.

His fearless journalism, characterized by an indomitable spirit, was typically viewed as a threat to those involved in corruption, consequently leading to his incarceration on multiple occasions. Despite the risks, Jiang remained steadfast in his commitment to promoting transparency and accountability.

2. Incarceration and International Recognition

A less known fact is that Jiang Weiping spent many years in prison as a result of his exposé journalism. In 2000, he was sentenced to six years prison for “revealing state secrets” and “inciting to overthrow the state power”. His case drew international attention and made him a symbol for press freedom in China.

In recognition of his work and sacrifice, Jiang was awarded the International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2001, while still imprisoned. An award that honours journalists who show courage in defending press freedom despite facing attacks, threats, or imprisonment.

3. Moved to Canada After Release

Perhaps surprising to many, after his release from prison and a subsequent short detainment, Jiang and his family migrated to Canada in 2009. This move was facilitated by multiple non-governmental organizations and governments that advocated for him during his imprisonment, standing up for his human rights and press freedom.

This relocation did not, however, mean an end to his activism. Jiang continued to speak out about the Chinese government’s heavy-handed tactics, focusing his energy on human rights advocacy work, contributing to China’s voice in the international arena.

4. Jiang’s Daughter, Ti-Anna Wang

The lesser-known fact is that Jiang’s daughter, Ti-Anna Wang, was named after Tiananmen Square (‘Ti’ is short for Tiananmen, and ‘Anna’ stands for ‘peace.’) This naming is a nod to the Tiananmen Square massacre, a transformative event in contemporary Chinese history, and the subsequent call for peace and freedom.

Growing up, Ti-Anna took up her father’s mantle of advocacy for human rights, especially press freedom. She has emerged as a powerful voice, tirelessly advocating for her father during his incarcerations and raising awareness about human rights abuses in China.

5. Jiang’s Wife Is a Tireless Advocate

Another aspect many might not be aware of is the role of Jiang’s wife in his activism. His wife, Stella Lee, has been a pillar of strength and support behind Jiang’s journey.

During the challenging times when Jiang was imprisoned, Stella was at the forefront, fighting for his release and advocating for press freedom within China. She has since continued this work alongside her husband and daughter, passionately pushing for human rights reforms in China.

6. Recognition for Jiang’s Work Continues Even in Canada

On moving to Canada, Jiang worked as a senior researcher with the Global Journalism program at Massey College, the University of Toronto. His work there and his continued advocacy did not go unnoticed.

In 2010, the National Press Club (NPC) in the United States awarded Jiang with the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award. This prestigious award is given annually to journalists who have contributed to protecting and advancing freedom of the press.

7. Inspiration for a Book and a Company

Incredibly, Jiang’s life has been such an inspiration that it led to the publication of the book “Nine Days,” written by Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post’s editorial page editor. The book shines a light on the fight for free speech and the importance of democracy.

The legacy of advocacy that Jiang’s family has carried forward also led to the creation of a company. Ti-Anna, his daughter, co-founded democratize.ca, a start-up looking to bridge the knowledge gap about China and its governance system, using an innovative approach.

8. The Family Continues to Advocate for Press Freedom

One of the most interesting things about the Jiang family is their unwavering commitment to advocating for press freedom. Both Jiang’s wife and daughter continuously work alongside him to push for these important reforms not only in China but also globally.

Their courage and determination, even in the face of adversity, have cemented their position as renowned advocates for press freedom and human rights globally.

9. Recipient of Freedom to Write Award

The global recognition of Mr. Jiang’s work continued to pour in even during the most difficult times of his life. While he was still under house arrest in China, The Pen America Center awarded him the Freedom to Write Award in 2001.

This award forms one of the many recognitions that underscore the global admiration of Jiang’s brave journalism and his invaluable contribution to the cause of freedom of the press, particularly in a landscape fraught with challenges and dangers.

10. Jiang’s Extraordinary Influence on a Global Scale

Throughout his inspiring career, Jiang Weiping has had an extraordinary influence on a global scale. His work has served as an essential voice of truth during times of rampant corruption, prompting much-needed change even at personal risks.

From positions such as North East Asia correspondent for the South China Morning Post to being a Research Associate at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, Jiang’s contributions have a wide-reaching impact that transcends geographical boundaries.

Discover more about Jiang Weiping’s life, work, and the impact he has had on human rights and press freedom by visiting these resources:

Committee to Protect Journalists: Jiang Weiping’s case

PEN America: Jiang Weiping’s Freedom to Write Award

Washington Post: Fred Hiatt’s book “Nine Days”

University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy: Jiang Weiping’s Contributions