VOC will Award its Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom to Activist and Lawyer Chen Guangcheng at This Week’s #ChinaForum

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Through his work and activism, Chen Guangcheng has helped expose the crimes of the Chinese Communist Party, including forced abortions and corruption, and has given voice to China’s disabled population.

This week VOC will award its Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom to Chinese legal scholar and civil rights activist Chen Guangcheng, for his heroic efforts promoting individual rights and the rule of law.

Through his work and activism, Chen Guangcheng has helped expose the crimes of the Chinese Communist Party, including forced abortions and corruption, and has given voice to China’s disabled population.

Chen was born in China’s Shandong province in 1971, in the midst of the country’s violent Cultural Revolution. Chen became blind when he was five-months old because of an untreated fever. This life-changing event categorized him as one of China’s greatest discriminated groups—the disabled.

In China, as Chen once explained, the disabled are not considered fully human. Until the 1980s they were referred to as “useless.” Since the 1990s China’s law guarantees employment, education, welfare, and access to the country’s disabled, but they still continue to encounter difficulties in society. Disabled children are usually kept confined at home, most schools do not allow disabled students, and figures showthat only a quarter of the country’s disabled meet any form of employment. Even the cities are a struggle to those who manage to get out—pathways for the blind often lead to dead ends or trees, and other help, such as guide dogs, are forbidden.

[Read the full text here, at VictimsOfCommunism.org]

Chen was bound to follow the same fate. However, his fate changed when he was 17 and enrolled in a school for the blind 40 miles away from his hometown. Chen spent the next decade of his life studying, rapidly moving from primary school to the university, where he studied Chinese medicine and massage. It was during this time that Chen started fighting against the injustice he saw. He would speak against teachers and government authorities that mistreated him because of his condition.

Because of his experiences, Chen left medical school and returned to his hometown to study law. He trained himself as a lawyer, earning his nickname, “barefoot lawyer.” Soon after he created petitions, standing up for those with disabilities and those who were abused by local authorities. With time, his battles against the Chinese authorities grew larger, ranging from land rights to corruption and government transparency. Chen believes that by exposing the abuses he can put an end to them….(read more)

via Twitter – VictimsOfCommunism.org



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