Chen Guangcheng on Disability & Human Rights

On WNYC and PRI’s The Takeaway, blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng discusses disability as “a mirror to society”, the importance of proactive defence of one’s own rights, and his continued determination to return to China in the future.

In his first national broadcast interview since arriving in the United States, Guangcheng describes the intersection between human rights and disability rights in the United States and in his native China. Chen says that disabled people can hold up “a mirror to society.”

[…] One of the keys to protecting the rights of the disabled, Chen says, is that disabled people themselves become involved in the struggle to improve their situations. “It’s very important that disabled peoples’ rights have to be enforced, and have to be protected by disabled people themselves by being involved in that process,” he says. 

[…] While he is enjoying his time in New York, Chen says that a return to China is inevitable. He hopes to continue his efforts to curb the uncontrolled powers of local authorities through legal means. “I think the role of lawyers in promoting implementation of the constitution is absolutely essential, and can’t be denied,” Chen says.

Meanwhile, Chen has secured a book deal. From The New York Times’ Media Decoder blog:

Mr. Chen will write a memoir that he said would describe “the true conditions in China, especially in the vast stretches of rural China.” The book is tentatively scheduled for release in fall 2013 by Times Books, an imprint of Henry Holt & Company. John Sterling, editor at large for Henry Holt, acquired the book.

“Chen’s story is a remarkable journey of activism on both a personal and political level,” Mr. Sterling said in a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.