Washington D.C., Oct 2, 2013 / 06:14 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Chinese pro-life activist Chen Guangcheng has announced a new three-year partnership with the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., as well as with two other human rights groups.
The blind human rights advocate will also partner with the Witherspoon Institute, a non-profit organization focused on moral reasoning in a free society, and the Lantos Foundation, a human rights organization which promotes the advance of human rights in American foreign policy.
“I believe that human rights supersedes partisan politics and is greater than national borders as well,” Chen said, adding that he looks forward to a “new starting point” and working for institutions “that are not intimidated by the powerful.”
“The kinds of concerns that he expressed on human life issues are something that Americans really need to hear,” Catholic University of America president John Garvey told CNA.
“The lack of concern for human life or respect that we have seen in the last 40 years in America reaches its highest form in places like where he’s lived.”
Chen, who has been blind since childhood, became a self-taught human rights lawyer while in China, speaking out in particular against forced abortions and sterilizations under the country’s one-child policy.
His activism attracted the attention of the Chinese government, and Chen spent four years in prison for his advocacy. In September 2010, he was placed under house arrest with no formal charges, and has said that during this time he and his family were treated harshly, beaten and denied proper medical care.
In April 2012, Chen escaped from house arrest, seeking refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing. Attracting growing international attention and voicing concern for the safety of his family, Chen was offered a fellowship at New York University’s law school in May 2012. The Chinese government agreed to allow him to travel with his immediate family to the U.S.
New York University announced in June that Chen’s fellowship was ending, stating that the position was meant to be a temporary post. The pro-life activist claimed in a June 17 statement that the university ended his fellowship following “great, unrelenting pressure” from the Chinese government.
At the Oct. 2 press conference, the Witherspoon Institute and the Catholic University of America announced that Chen would begin this month in three-year prestigious human rights fellowships, and the Lantos Foundation said that the activist will take on the role of senior (Read More)