Dennis Peng, a Taiwanese newsman living in self-exile in California, has won a new Canadian human rights award of $10,000 CD called the Justice Star Award. Peng is in self-exile because of an arrest warrant in Taiwan stemming from the effort of Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen to have the newsman prosecuted for criminal defamation over his reports about her controversial 1983 PhD thesis.
The new award, established byEstrella Shen, a Taiwanese-Canadian, received a number of nominations for Peng from former Stanford University faculty members and overseas organizations. “The committee scrutinized Professor Peng’s fearless performance in defending Taiwan’s freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and judicial justice, and in monitoring and challanging the totalitarian government.”
“Professor Peng is comparable to the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winners, two renowned media reporters, Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov. The committee also contacted the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where Professor Peng received his PhD degree.” Peng was praised by the Chancellor’s Office because he would “sift and winnow for the truth.”
Peng is the host of the True Voice of Taiwan, a popular, hour-long daily news program on the YouTube channel. Peng is being prosecuted for criminal defamation of President Tsai. Peng began following the saga of Tsai’s 1984 PhD degree from the University of London after she triggered an academic firestorm when she submitted her thesis to the London School of Economics Library in June 2019, thirty-five years late.
To make matters worse, the tardy thesis appears to be a draft document with footnote issues, pagination problems, and hand-written notations including a question mark. Three versions of President Tsai’s diploma circulating on the internet compound the mystery of what went on back in London during the 1983-84 school year. Dennis Peng has made it his mission to get to the bottom of thesis mystery and riled Tsai so much she complained to prosecutors.
The Justice Star Award has been initially endowed for twenty years to promote human rights. Estrella Shen has put her money where her mouth is and supports media freedom with her purse. Award winner Dennis Peng supports media freedom by putting his freedom at risk.