Journalist Hu Shuli and environment lawyer win 'Asia's Nobel', the Ramon Magsaysay Award

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 August, 2014, 3:58am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 August, 2014, 7:21pm

An environmental lawyer and an investigative journalist whose work led to the sacking of corrupt officials are among this year's winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Awards, often regarded as Asia's version of the Nobel Prize.

Hu Shuli was recognised for her work as editor-in-chief of the Beijing-based Caixin Media group that exposed corporate fraud and government corruption, including the sale-for-adoption of children in Hunan province, the awards foundation in the Philippines announced yesterday.

Hu's "unrelenting commitment to truthful, relevant and unassailable journalism" had defied China's restrictive media environment, the foundation said.

Wang Canfa is the other winner from China. He founded the Centre for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims, which provides training in environmental law and has offered free advice to thousands of people.

"I'm very glad to receive the award, but it is not a reflection of how successful or powerful I am," Wang told the South China Morning Post.

"The award shows the international community's high expectations for China to tackle its pollution problems and its support for us to use legal weapons to solve the environmental crisis.

"China has been pursuing the path, using legal means to protect the environment, for more than 30 years. We've published many laws, but the country is still facing a lot of problems in actual implementation."

Among other winners were Indonesian anthropologist Saur Marlina Manurung, who created a "jungle school" for children in rainforest communities. Filipino teacher Randy Halasan was also honoured for serving the Matigsalug indigenous tribe.

The awards are named after a former president of the Philippines who died in a plane crash in 1957.