Mao Yushi, an economist and advocate of individual liberty and free market reforms in China, has won the Cato Institute’s biennial Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty. Cato’s announcement says:
Before economic reform began in China in 1978, he had been an engineer and during his lifetime has faced severe punishment, exile, and near starvation for remarks critical of a command-based economy and society. During the Cultural Revolution, he and his family were deprived of all of their property, and in 2011 he angered some in China with his article “Returning Mao Zedong to Human Form,” which boldly calculated the human cost of Mao’s brutal Communist policies from 1949 to 1976. The article led to calls for his prosecution and execution, with 50,000 left-faction members signing a petition that called for his imprisonment on charges of treason. Immediately following the article’s appearance he had to be surrounded by students to protect him from physical attack from zealots, while the government remained silent and neutral.
In 1993 he and five other economists founded the Unirule Institute of Economics, an independent Chinese think tank committed to the growth of a market economy and to reforming Chinese government policies.
In addition, Mao Yushi has been a pioneer in creating private charity and self-help programs in the People’s Republic of China and has helped countless people become independent members of society through the Fuping Development Institute and other initiatives. He believes that the more income an individual earns the more freedom an individual has, and has devoted himself to China’s transition from a planned economy to a free market economy.
The presentation of the $250,000 prize will be made on May 4 at the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty’s Biennial Dinner and award presentation at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C.