03 June 2013

Lawyer Chen in demand by opposing US groups

Blind Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng is being courted by two US institutions with clashing ideologies just a year after his dramatic escape from house arrest in China.

By James Barnes

Chen Guangcheng Wikimedia

The self-taught lawyer, who made his name defending Chinese women forced into abortions, has received offers to represent conservative pro-life think-tank the Witherspoon Institute and the Leitner Center, a human rights programme at New York’s Fordham School of Law.

High demand

The Financial Times reports that Mr Chen is currently a fellow at New York University’s Law School but is in high demand as a speaker at key fundraising events.
Mr Chen has reportedly adjusted well to life in the US and is becoming used to dealing with groups seeking his support. However, one acquaintance told the FT that someone who had just arrived in the US could find it difficult to get to grips with the different interest groups.

Rival offer

Bob Howe, Fordham’s senior director of communications, would not comment on the rival offer from Witherspoon  but told the FT that Mr Chen would not be able to ‘serve both as a visiting scholar at the Leitner Center and have a position at an institute at Princeton’.
Witherspoon Institute - which attracted controversy last year for funding a study suggesting that children of homosexual parents were at a disadvantage - could not be contacted for comment.

Email your news and story ideas to: news@globallegalpost.com