UTS winners at the Australia China Alumni Awards
23 November 2015
Two UTS alumni have been recognised at the seventh annual Australia China Alumni Awards, held at a gala dinner at the Renaissance Beijing Capital Hotel.
Li Hua Tong, already a recipient of UTS’s International Alumni Award in 2014, took top honours by receiving the Australia China Alumni of the Year Award. Dake Zhu, meanwhile, received the Australia China Alumni Award for Education.
This Australia China Alumni of the Year Award recognises all-round excellence and significant contributions to Australian and Chinese society. Tong, a leading advocate in China for the rights of children, women and migrant workers, used his personal funds in 1999 to establish the Beijing Children’s Legal Aid and Research Centre. It was the first non-governmental organisation dedicated to providing pro bono legal services to children in China.
Now known as the Zhicheng Public Interest Law Organisation, Tong’s operation expanded and became the largest NGO in the People’s Republic of China, comprising several subsidiary organisations in 33 provinces.
He has also been working closely with the Australia Human Rights Commission to exchange ideas on civil society development in China. Diplomats and members of the international civil society community regularly look to him as a good indicator of reform, providing the world with a useful window to view civil society organisations in China.
“I have worked very hard in the public interest field for the last 15 years and we have changed a lot for children and migrant workers,” said Tong of his work in an earlier interview with Tower Magazine. “We’re promoting more lawyers to work in those fields and we’re now able to promote legal and policy reform. In this context, I can see my work and my life’s meaning. And it’s good.”
The Australia China Alumni Award for Education recognises the leaders in the Chinese education field and the impact they are making, particularly in Chinese universities, Chinese or international schools, kindergartens, private language training centres and Australian government education bodies in China.
Dake Zhu is a noted cultural critic, scholar and essayist, and is widely admired in mainland intellectual circles as an independent voice on contemporary Chinese society. Rising to prominence in the 1980s, he was an important spokesperson of the emerging avant-garde culture in China.
The acclaimed author of ‘The Burning Maze’ (1991), ‘The Lightning of Discourse’ (2003) and ‘The Banquet of the Liumang’ (2006), Zhu also wrote ‘Dossier of a Fugitive’ (1999) while pursuing a PhD at UTS.
With a reputation as a deep thinker on cultural phenomena, Zhu is now often called upon by the Chinese mainstream media for his expert views in the development of Chinese cultural industries. He is currently a professor at Tongji University in Shanghai, where he is co-director of the Research Center for Cultural Criticism.
Find out more about the Australia China Alumni Awards.