Chen Guangcheng

Chen Guangcheng is a Chinese civil rights activist. Chen has worked on human rights issues in rural areas of the People’s Republic of China. He is described as a “barefoot lawyer” who advocates for women’s rights, land rights, and the welfare of the poor. His activism started when he complained about the incorrect taxes levied on his family as he was disabled. He soon petitioned for other people with disabilities. He gained international attention after he was arrested and prisoned for filing a lawsuit against the local government for the excessive enforcement of the one-child policy. He served 4 years in prison. He later moved to the United States with his family.

What is Chen Guangcheng’s most well-known achievement?

She is regarded as a “barefoot lawyer” who campaigns for women’s rights, land rights, and poor people’s welfare.
Most well-known for accusing people of wrongdoings in official family-planning activities, which often include allegations of harassment and forced abortions.

Chen Guangcheng was born in China.

On November 12, 1971, Chen Guangcheng was born. Dongshigu, Yinan County, Shandong, China, is where he was born. He is of Chinese descent. He comes from a farming family and is the youngest of five children. He is a member of the Asian ethnic group. He went blind at the age of six months due to a fever that killed his optical nerves. He was raised in a Buddhist household. His father employed as a Communist Party school teacher.

In 1989, he enrolled in the Linyi City Elementary School for the Blind as a grade one student. He enrolled in the school when he was 18 years old. In 1994, he enrolled at Qingdao High School for the Blind. In 1998, he got a job at Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine after graduating from high school. From Nanjing, he specialized in acupuncture and massage. Following his university education, he returned to his hometown and began working as a masseur in the Yinan County hospital.

Activism of Chen Guangcheng

Chen learned the law on his own.

He first went to the authorities in 1996, when he went to Beijing to complain about taxes that were being imposed on him and his family incorrectly (people with disabilities). He petitioned for other disabled people after his complaint was successful.

Soon after, he obtained support from a British foundation and entered the China Law Society as a vocal advocate for disability rights.

He gained attention when he campaigned for an elderly blind couple whose child was paralyzed and who had been paying all of the necessary taxes and fees. Chen then brought the case to court and won it.

In 1997, he petitioned Beijing’s central authorities to end the “two-filed scheme” in Chen’s village.

He then lodged a lawsuit against a paper mill in his village that was dumping toxic wastewater into the Meng River, damaging crops and endangering wildlife as well as humans. The petition was successful, and the paper mill’s operations were put on hold. The British government contributed £15,000 to the construction of a deepwater well, irrigation systems, and water pipelines in the region.

In 2004, villagers from Dongshigu petitioned the village government to open the village accounts, which had been kept secret for more than ten years, and to resolve the issue of illegal land requisitions. The case was ultimately brought before the Qi’nan County Court.

In 2005, he made international headlines when he filed a class-action lawsuit against authorities in Linyi, Shandong province, for enforcing the one-child policy excessively.

He was put under house arrest from September 2005 to March 2006 as a result of this case. He was charged with “damaging property and forming a crowd to disrupt traffic” and sentenced to 4 years and 3 months in prison in June 2006.

He was released in 2010 after completing his full sentence, but he was held under house arrest at his home in Dongshigu village.

Chen received international attention as a result of this event. His release has been requested by the US State Department, the British Foreign Secretary, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International.

Chen escaped and fled to the US Embassy in Beijing in April 2012 while still under house arrest. He was officially permitted to study in the United States after talks with the Chinese government. On May 19, 2012, the US government granted Chen and his family visas, and the family relocated to New York City.New York University offered him a place as a visiting scholar.

The Barefoot Lawyer, his memoir, was published in March 2015.

On May 29, 2012, he wrote an editorial in the New York Times criticizing China’s government and Communist Party for the “lawless punishment inflicted on himself and his family over the past seven years.”

In October 2013, he accepted an offer from the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey. At the Witherspoon Institute, he was appointed a Distinguished Senior Fellow in Human Rights.

He also became a Senior Distinguished Advisor at the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice and a Visiting Fellow at the Catholic University of America’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies.

On October 16, 2013, he made his first public appearance as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Witherspoon Institute, when he gave a public lecture at Princeton University titled “China and the World in the Twenty-First Century: The Next Human Rights Revolution.”

In August 2020, he spoke at the Republican National Convention.

Chen Guangcheng is a married man.

In 2001, Chen Guangcheng met his future wife, Yuan Weijing. Yuan was invited to a radio talk show to discuss her difficulties finding work after graduating from Shandong’s Chemistry Institute’s foreign language department. Chen had heard the interview and had reached out to Yuan. Chen spoke about his struggles as a blind man working for minimum wage. Their meeting had an effect on Yuan. In 2003, the pair decided to elope. Chen Kerui, Yuan’s first child, was born in 2003. Chen Kesi was the couple’s second child, a daughter, born in 2005. The couple’s second child was born in violation of China’s one-child policy.

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