Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese human rights activist, was awarded the James Madison Award For Distinguished Public Service by the American Whig-Cliosophic Society on Thursday. He granted the ‘Prince’ a brief interview following the ceremony. He spoke through an interpreter, Ross Donovan ’16.
The Daily Princetonian: What are your plans in the United States? Do you plan to return to China if possible?
RD: It’s certain that he’ll go back to China in the future. It’s expected that there will be some changes in China, so he’s waiting to see. Right now, he will continue to work hard toward improving human rights in the world.
DP: What do you believe is the greatest barrier for democracy in China?
RD: The biggest obstacle to democracy in China is the Communist Party itself. They want to control and maintain power over the citizens and keep their special authority.
DP: Are young people activists in China? Do you believe they’ll have success?
RD: He thinks that there’s a good chance for the youth in China, but, of course, a lot of youth in China, after going through schooling, end up becoming kind of brainwashed from the education system, but we’ve already seen some very successful youth who have stood up for human rights.
DP: Do you believe the new administration of Xi Jinping will lead to change in China?
RD: He doesn’t believe that there will be much change with Xi Jinping. In fact, he thinks that Xi Jinping, rather than bringing about change, will just change his methods of control in the government, rather than actually bringing about reform. He feels it’s more the power of the people that can cause reform.
DP: How has your disability influenced your work as an activist?
RD: He, as a person with disability, has to put forth so much more effort, and it’s not as easy as with a completely able-bodied person or a sighted person. So he has to put forth a lot more effort in doing these projects.