Distinguished Senior Fellow in Human Rights, The Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution
Chen Guangcheng is Distinguished Senior Fellow in Human Rights at the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution. He is also a member of the the faculty of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America and Senior Distinguished Advisor to the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.
Mr. Chen is a Chinese civil rights lawyer and activist who has been a persistent voice for freedom, human dignity, and the rule of law in his native country. Working in rural communities in China, where he was known as the “barefoot lawyer,” Chen advocated the rights of disabled people, and organized class-action litigation against the government’s violent enforcement of its one-child policy. Blind since his childhood, Chen is self-taught in the law. His human rights activism resulted in his imprisonment by the Chinese government for four years, beginning in 2006; after his release he remained under house arrest, until his escape from confinement in 2012, whereupon he came to the United States where he was a fellow at NYU School of Law in 2012-13.