by Steven Ertelt
August 19, 2007
Manilla, Philippines (LifeNews.com) — The leading opponent of forced abortions in China is getting the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize for his efforts. Chen Guangcheng led the effort to bring international exposure to a brutal forced abortion campaign in Linyi, but he has been jailed on a bogus four year prison term as a result.
Chen, a blind attorney, had been preparing a lawsuit on behalf of thousands of women in the eastern city who were victims of forced abortion and sterilizations when he was arrested.
After two trials, which saw his attorneys and key witnesses prevented from attending, Chen was sent to prison for four years for destroying property in a protest he never attended.
Acknowledging his heroic efforts, the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation in the Philippines has made the 2007 award recipient for Emergent Leadership.
Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s highest honor and is widely regarded as the region’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
In announcing the award, the foundation said Chen is being honored for "his irrepressible passion for justice in leading ordinary Chinese citizens to assert their legitimate rights under the law."
There will be a recognition ceremony on August 31 to honor him and six other honorees but Chen will not be able to attend.
RMAF President Carmencita Abella talked about the award in a statement on the group’s web site.
"The Magsaysay awardees of 2007 are truly moving Asia forward through their remarkable and selfless service to their respective societies," he said. Working in different countries on diverse issues … these seven individuals nevertheless share an uncommon faith in the tremendous potential of people and social institutions."
"They share as well an indomitable will and persistence to tap into this potential and thus create greater, and lasting, good," Abella added.
Since his imprisonment, Chen has been beaten by fellow prisoners at the urging of guards and had his head completely shaved to humiliate him.
His 30-year old wife Yuan Weijing recently went to Beijing to plead his case.