News / Asia

    Exiled Chinese Dissident Receives Award for Moral Courage

    Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng addresses the sixth Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy after receiving its first Courage Award, in Geneva, Feb. 25, 2014.
    Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng addresses the sixth Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy after receiving its first Courage Award, in Geneva, Feb. 25, 2014.
    Lisa Schlein
    The Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy has just bestowed its first Courage Award to Chinese dissident, Chen Guangcheng. The blind lawyer, who escaped Chinese arrest and fled to the United States in 2012, says he will not give up his struggle for the Chinese government to respect the rights of its people.

    The chairman of U.N. Watch, Alfred Moses presented the award to Chen on behalf of a global coalition of dissidents and 20 non-governmental organizations.

    “He is truly a moral hero," he said. "We look for the day when the world is transformed.”

    Chen was born blind and grew up illiterate in rural China. He is a self-taught lawyer who has championed the cause of disenfranchised peasants and the disabled. He said the Chinese government tolerated these pursuits, but clamped down when he began defending women forced to undergo abortions and sterilization.

    Dramatic escape

    Chen spent four years in prison and was put under house arrest upon his release in 2012. He made a dramatic escape to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and went on to the United States with his family.   

    Chen said he will continue to work to end China’s oppression of its citizens. But he remains very worried about his family back home.  He said the government threatens his family to keep him silent.

    “They will use the next generation, your children, your family, your parents as a threat and they would not stop," said Chen. "As I just said, my nephew is still in the prison that I was in… ever since I left, the threat, the terror they do to them -- it never stops. And, they are using several methods to watch the village I am from.”  

    Threat of reprisal

    Despite the threat of reprisal, Chen said he believes he still can be effective and influence events in China, even from exile.

    He said today’s technological advances make it possible for him and other dissidents to spread the message of human rights no matter where they live.

    “You can help the activists and those who are oppressed to fight for human rights. If we work hard and work together, then location and distance is no longer a problem," said Chen. "The only problem is that we do not have enough confidence. I feel if we continue to do this, China will change, and I hold the firm belief that these days will not be far.”  

    Chen said Tibet remains one of China’s biggest problems, adding that it need not be. He said he has met the Dalai Lama several times and the religious leader has never asked for independence for Tibet. He said the communist government pretends not to hear what the Dalai Lama is saying.

    You May Like

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    First Human Head Transplant Planned for 2017

    Italian neurosurgeon, assisted by team of 100 medical staff, to perform 36-hour surgery on Russian man with debilitating muscle-wasting disease

    Biden Urges Global Focus on Cancer as a 'Constant Emergency'

    At Vatican conference on regenerative medicine, Vice president notes that cancer kills more than 3,000 people each day in US alone

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora