New School News

Watch Chen Guangcheng at The New School

Chen Guangcheng (L) with U.S. Ambassador Locke and Assistant Secretary of State Kurt M. Campbell at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in May 2012 (Photo: U.S. Department of State)

As China becomes an essential world player in economics, politics, and culture, more attention is being placed on its adherence to global standards of rule of law and human rights. In the context of this growing scrutiny, on Wednesday, February 6, The New School for Social Research’s Center for Public Scholarship welcomed Chinese activist lawyer Chen Guangcheng to chart a path for “The Future of the Rule of Law and Human Rights in China.”

Guangcheng, who came to the United States in May 2012 after a much-publicized escape from a Chinese prison, discussed the continuing struggle for open government and human rights in his home country–and around the world. After a conversation with NYU School of Law’s Jerome A. Cohen and Ira Belkin (who doubled as translator), Guangcheng took questions from the audience.

Many audience members praised his fearless commitment to democracy, likening him to figures like Martin Luther King and Mohandas Gandhi. While Guangcheng suggested that such accolades were “too much,” he told the crowd he has “always worked for human right, even when [he] was in prison.”

To watch the conversation in full, visit


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