News / Asia

Chinese Dissident Chen Honored in Washington

Chinese activist lawyer Chen Guangcheng (L) stands alongside actor Richard Gere (R) after being presented Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize Jan 29, 2013
Chinese activist lawyer Chen Guangcheng (L) stands alongside actor Richard Gere (R) after being presented Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize Jan 29, 2013
TEXT SIZE - +
Fangfang Zhang
— Blind Chinese Activist Chen Guangcheng has urged his fellow Chinese to work for social justice as he received an award from a human rights group in Washington Tuesday.

“Although this award is being given to me, I feel that it is a strong validation of everyone working to defend human rights, social justice, and universal values.” Chen said at the ceremony on Capitol Hill.

Chen was honored by the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, named for the late U.S. congressman Tom Lantos, who was a Holocaust survivor and prominent human-rights advocate.

U.S. actor and rights activist Richard Gere presented the award and praised the courage of dissidents such as Chen. "The man we are honoring today is someone who has inspired me and us in an extraordinary way, and I am so happy to be here to give him the Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize,'' Gere said.

The 41-year-old legal activist endured four years of prison after he led a campaign for the rights of the disabled and against forced abortions in China. 



The self-taught lawyer has been studying law at New York University since he dramatically fled house arrest and sought refuge at U.S. Embassy in Beijing last April.  Chen complains the Chinese government has sentenced his nephew, Chen Kegui, to three years in prison as a punishment for his escape. 

“In this key moment of transformation in China, international pressure is extremely important,” said Chen. “However, the Chinese sons and daughters back home need to understand that although others can help us, we need to be the main actors in this effort.”

He encouraged China’s people to learn from Burma, which ended its decades of military rule as well as media censorship recently.

He also urged U.S. government not to “give in an inch” when it comes to basic democratic principles, and not to compromise on human rights with China because of economic interests. 

Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) said “to me, the central concern should be human rights. Human rights issue matters more than economic issue, matters more than anything else.”

Washington has urged China to stop further retribution against Chen's family members.  Beijing has said it would abide by Chinese law.

The award is the highest honor of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. The previous recipients include Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and Romanian-born Jewish-American writer, holocaust survivor, and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
January 30, 2013 2:17 AM
congratulations

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid