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Chen Guangcheng

Chen Guangcheng

HRD, Lawyer
The Economist Review

A dissident in China; The power of one

BBC Profile

China's blind activist Chen Guangcheng

NYT Report

Challenge for US after escape by blind activist

Many in the international community fear that raising human rights issues will anger the regime, endangering foreign access to China or to Chinese organizations. However, the party regime is more worried about international, open criticism than it lets on, and targeted, unified statements from the outside have an impact. When I was in captivity, I saw that vocal criticism from the West led to improvements in my treatment.

Chen Guangcheng is a blind, self-taught lawyer who has defended the rights of farmers, people with disabilities and women subjected to abuse. He was also active in exposing forced abortions and sterilizations in and around Linyi City in Shangdong Province. As a result of his human rights activities he was imprisoned in 2006 and then held prisoner in his home on his release until 2012, when he escaped house arrest and found sanctuary in the US embassy in Beijing. He is currently living and working in the US.


Chinese HRDs face intimidation, harassment, house arrest, abductions, torture and imprisonment. They also work under very restrictive legislation, including laws which criminalize all unauthorized demonstrations and require government sponsorship for NGO registration, which is refused to any organisation touching on human rights issues. Widescale investigations into NGOs with links to overseas organisations took place in 2014 and 2015 resulting in harassment, detentions and forced closures.