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Chen will join University politics professor Robert George, who is the Herbert W. Vaughan Senior Fellow at the Institute. He will also be a visiting fellow at the Catholic University of America and an adviser for the liberal advocacy group Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice.
In 2012, Chen, a blind self-taught lawyer, was placed under house arrest following a four-year prison sentence for challenging government authorities’ inappropriate enforcement of China’s one-child policy. In April 2012, he escaped to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, where he was allowed to remain for six days. In May, the Chinese government allowed Chen leave to study at an American university.
Chen took the position of fellow at the New York University School of Law, but he later accused the university of succumbing to pressure from the Chinese government by ending his fellowship a year early. Chen alleged that NYU was worried his stance against the Chinese government would harm its presence in China.
In March 2013, Chen was presented with the James Madison Award for Distinguished Public Service by the American Whig-Cliosophic Society in a ceremony on campus.