UTS Law graduate recognised for human rights advocacy

29 September 2017

Li Hua Tong with painting

Photo: Li Hua Tong

The tireless work of UTS graduate and public interest lawyer Li Hua Tong (Master of Laws, 2004) as an advocate for the rights of children, women and migrant workers in China has been recognised at the prestigious Advance Global Australian Awards.

Tong's achievements as an international UTS graduate have been recognised with a 2017 Advance Global Australian Award, along with 10 high-achieving Australians who are working internationally to change the world.

A passionate supporter for the improvement of human rights in China and a proud ambassador for Australia, Tong has built a highly successful career while providing invaluable opportunities for the community. In 1999, he used his personal funds 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.

Determined to extend this life-transforming access to justice, Tong expanded operations to include legal assistance to migrant workers and women in China, later adding the protection of farmers’ rights and environmental issues to the portfolio. Operating under the new name Zhicheng Public Interest Lawyers, more than 400,000 children and migrant workers have already benefited from his work.

Tong leads by example, encouraging other lawyers in China to take on pro bono work. Globally, he continues to advocate tirelessly for policy and legislative reform. “In these times of rapid growth in China, we need to increase our efforts to address the continued disadvantage of such groups. More lawyers must stand up and fight for the rights and dignity of our most vulnerable people,” says Tong.

As an ambassador of UTS, Lihua is actively engaged with Australian alumni and has provided invaluable internship opportunities for UTS students.

Find out more in this Tower Magazine interview with Li Hua Tong.

The Advance Global Australian Awards are a prestigious international award program recognising exceptional vision, innovation and leadership, and remarkable talent of Australians overseas.

Winners of these awards are Australian pioneers and provocateurs, each achieving sustained impact on a global stage. Last year, UTS graduate and food security expert Dr Dana Cordell (PhD 2010) was recognised at the 2016 Advance Global Australian Awards, joining a growing group of UTS alumni who have received an award, such as Professor Carolyn McGregor AM (BAppSc Computing Science 1991; PhD 2003); and Afghan human rights champion, Nasima Rahmani (LLM 2007).

This year’s recipients will be celebrated at the Advance Global Australian Awards gala dinner at the Art Gallery of NSW on Tuesday 10 October.