Milwaukee, Wis. – The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation today announced that Chen Guangcheng, a renowned human rights activist, academic and outspoken critic of the Chinese Communist Party, has been named the 2022 Bradley Prize Laureate. The honor recognizes individuals whose outstanding achievements reflect the Bradley Foundation‘s mission to restore, strengthen and protect the principles and institutions of freedom and American exceptionalism. Chen will receive the award at the 18th Annual Bradley Awards on Tuesday, May 17 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
“At a time when citizens are questioning American exceptionalism, Chen‘His remarkable life story reminds us that our country must continue to be a beacon of hope and freedom around the world,” said Rick Graber, President and CEO of the Bradley Foundation. “As a Chinese dissident, Guangcheng has shown remarkable resilience and heroic courage in the face of persecution. The Bradley Foundation is proud to honor him for his fight for freedom.
This year‘The winners were chosen by the Bradley Awards Selection Committee, which included notable leaders in a variety of fields, after careful consideration of more than 100 distinguished nominations. Each award carries a stipend of $250,000.
“I thank the Bradley Foundation for this wonderful award. I accept it on behalf of the Chinese people who are deprived of their freedom and human rights by the Chinese Communist Party. I thank America for being a model for the whole world of a society governed by the rule of law. I am certain that one day the Chinese people will get rid of the power of the CCP and become a constitutional democracy like America,” Chen said.
The son of a poor farmer in a remote village in Shandong, China, Chen was permanently blinded by the disease as a baby, and his family had few resources to support him. Despite his disability, he was determined to educate himself, eventually learning to read and write at age 18 when he began attending a school for the blind. Over time, with the help of his immediate family, he taught himself the law and began working on legal cases related to civil rights and disability issues.
Living at home in his village, his legal work eventually led to his investigation into the violent campaign to enforce the so-called one-child policy. He suffered a period of harassment and detention that would last more than seven years, including repeated, unofficial house arrests”black jails,and a four-year prison sentence. According to Chinese authorities, the lives of more than 90,000 children were saved thanks to its resistance to the one-child policy at the time.
After his prison term, he was kept in custody with his family for months in their home. His treatment inspired pilgrims from across the country and abroad to visit his village where they themselves were often beaten and harassed. Their online revelations have raised awareness among the Chinese people of the cruelty of the Communist Party regime.
After nearly two years of brutal detention in his own home, Chen escaped from his village, later seeking safety at the US Embassy in Beijing. High-level diplomatic negotiations ensured his trip to the United States, where he became a scholar at New York University Law School in 2012. In 2013, he left NYU to join the Catholic University of America.
In the years since Chen left for America, Chen has consistently tried to alert the world to the dangers of the Chinese Communist Party, speaking to audiences from Japan to Norway, writing for English and Chinese media and giving interviews. and analysis of the political situation in China and the relationship between the United States and the CCP. his memoir, The barefoot lawyer: A blind man’s fight for justice and freedom in Chinawas published in 2015 and has been translated into over 10 languages worldwide.
Since beginning his advocacy work, Chen has received numerous awards, including Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list (2006), Ramon Magsaysay Award (2007), Lantos Human Rights Award ( 2012), the British Parliament‘s Westminster Award (2013), the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy Courage Award (2014) and the Leopoldo Lopez Freedom and Democracy Award from Kenyon College (2021).