Chen Guangcheng - The Barefoot Lawyer Lecture

Event Date: September 17, 2019
Hosted By: College of Liberal Arts & College of Engineering
Time: 7:00 - 8:00 PM
Location: Wetherill Hall - Room 104
Contact Name: Stephanie McKinley
Contact Phone: 765-494-5178
Contact Email:
Priority: No
College Calendar: Show

Chen Guangcheng, known to many as "the barefoot lawyer," was born and raised in a poor, remote village in Shandong, China. Blind since infancy and barred from school until his late teens, he nonetheless taught himself law as a young adult and became a committed advocate for the poor, disabled and persecuted. His work drew the ire of the authorities, leading to over seven years of harassment including repeated house arrests, secret detention, and over four years in prison. On April 20, 2012, he made a dramatic escape from 20 months of brutal house arrest, catching the attention of international media. The American embassy in Beijing secured his temporary safety before high-level diplomatic negotiations enabled his exodus to the U.S.

Since beginning his advocacy work, Mr. Chen has been the recipient of numerous awards including Time Magazine 100 Most Influential List (2006), The Ramon Magsaysay Award (2007), The Lantos Human Rights Prize (2012), the UK Parliament’s Westminster Award (2013), and the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy Courage Award (2014).

Chen is a frequent media commentator as well as guest speaker at conferences and events around the world. He has established a not-for-profit foundation to further human rights in China and serves as Visiting Fellow at the Catholic University of America, Distinguished Senior Fellow in Human Rights at the Witherspoon Institute, and Senior Distinguished Advisor to the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.

Mr. Chen’s memoir, The Barefoot Lawyer: A Blind Man’s Fight for Justice and Freedom in China, was released by Henry Holt Publishers in 2015 and has since been translated into eight languages worldwide.