A staunch defender of the right to faith, Nina Hope Shea is the Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute. A human rights lawyer of 30 years, Ms. Shea has given Falun Gong’s plight serious attention since the beginning of the persecution.
The Friends of Falun Gong Human Rights Award was founded in 2018 to honor the long-time supports of Falun Gong who have made consistent and vocal efforts to end the persecution of practitioners in China. Since 1999, Chinese practitioners have been under direct attack by the communist regime. They have suffered physically, financially, and psychologically for their right to practice their faith. In the ensuing 20-plus years, countless practitioners have died or been seriously injured in state custody.
Ms. Shea was among the first to identify the Chinese Communist Party’s unlawful crackdown as a genocide. Following the release of more evidence of forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong and other prisoners of conscience, in 2022, she called on American policy-makers to declare the persecution as genocide.
“Her commitment to this singular cause—that of our fundamental human right to believe—has demonstrated her own personal faith in the power of goodness to change the world for the better,” said Friends of Falun Gong executive Alan Adler. “We could not ask for a better friend than Ms. Nina Shea. I hope that her tireless work inspires any one of you listening to reflect on the nature of our humanness and the role spiritual faith has in it.”
As a director at Freedom House in 2001 she and her colleagues awarded Falun Gong founder Master Li Hongzhi the International Religious Freedom Award.
For her advocacy of humankind’s primary and fundamental right to believe, Ms. Shea was appointed by the U.S. House of Representatives to serve as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom seven times from 1999 to 2012.
Ms. Shea has consistently stood in solidarity with practitioners at Falun Gong’s annual rallies in Washington, D.C. marking the anniversary of the persecution. At the 2023 rally, Ms. Shea will be presented with a trophy in the image of an angel as a token of Falun Dafa practitioners’ collective appreciation.