Matthew Franck, director of the center at the Witherspoon Institute where Chen will be a senior fellow, told CNA that the organization wants to help Chen “bring visibility and greater public significance to the plight of freedom and democracy in China.”
“Chen is a truth teller – it is our wish that he continue to tell the truth about human rights abuses in China.”
Franck added during the press conference that the Witherspoon Institute “is devoted to freedoms, and among them religious freedom,” both domestic and international.
Richard Nelson Swett, treasurer of the Lantos Foundation, remarked that “the fight for human rights transcends the prosaical political battles,” and that the “spirit of independence” and concern for human rights that Chen embodies is shared with the foundation's namesake, the late congressman Tom Lantos.
The organization looks forward to collaborating with the “active leader and voice on the behalf of literally tens of millions” of Chinese citizens, Swett said. He also expressed his pleasure that Chen's experiences would demonstrate that “care and concern for human rights” spreads beyond the “polarized politics of this world.”
Garvey praised Chen’s “value and advocacy for human rights in China” and his work in exposing the country’s one child policy and forced abortions, and said he was “delighted to welcome Mr. Chen to our university.”
He commented that this work of “protecting the rights of the poor and the vulnerable resonates with the mission of the Catholic University of America” and would benefit academic life at the college.
Chen's “enthusiastic support for his defense of human rights in China and around the world” will “be a witness” to the moral foundations that the university seeks to instill in its students as well, Garvey added.
“Chen's own witness, which has been very courageous,” he told CNA, “is a wonderful model for our students to learn those virtues that he has exhibited in his fight against the difficulties he has experienced in China.”