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
    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

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora