Chen Guangcheng gives a speech on Capitol Hill in August flanked by House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. (Photo/CNA)
Chinese activist lawyer Chen Guangcheng was honored by a human rights group in New York on Wednesday, receiving an award from the hands of movie star Christian Bale, who unsuccessfully attempted to meet the activist late last year while he was under house arrest, reports our sister newspaper China Times.
Human Rights First gave its 2012 Human Rights Award on Chen at its annual gala at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers in New York City, hosted by its CEO Elisa Massimino.
The award was presented by Batman star Bale who traveled to Chen's home in eastern China's Shandong province last December after learning of the plight of the human rights lawyer, who was being kept under illegal house arrest with his family, and wishing to show his support. Bale was punched and manhandled by plainclothes security guards together with the CNN crew accompanying him and was forced to turn back.
Chen, who has been blind since childhood, is a self-taught lawyer who took up the cases of women illegally forced to undergo abortions and sterilizations under local enforcement of the national one-child policy. Having been kept under house arrest at his residence in Dongshigu village after being released from a jail term, on April 22 he made a dramatic escape from his house and was taken by supporters to the US embassy in Beijing.
His presence at the embassy sparked a diplomatic spat between Beijing and the United States before he was eventually allowed to leave the country with his family. He is now studying law at New York University as a visiting scholar.
Chen Guangcheng 陳光誠