On March 10th, Henry Holt and Co. released the first person account of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng’s struggle for freedom and his fight for human rights in China: The Barefoot Lawyer.
The son of a poor farmer in rural China, Chen was blinded by illness in infancy and was fortunate to survive a difficult childhood. Despite his disability, he was determined to educate himself. He dedicated himself to fighting for the rights of his country’s poor, especially a legion of women who had endured forced sterilizations and abortions under the hated “one child” policy. Repeatedly harassed, beaten, and imprisoned by Chinese authorities, Chen was ultimately placed under house arrest. One morning in April 2012, he climbed over the wall of his heavily guarded home and made a daring escape. Days later, he turned up at the American embassy in Beijing, and only a furious round of high-level negotiations made it possible for him to leave China and begin a new life in the United States.
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 Visiting Fellow of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America where he is in residence, and Senior Distinguished Advisor to the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.
The Barefoot Lawyer is published by Henry Holt and Co., and can be purchased through Amazon.com.