Category: World / January 29, 2013 4:18 PM EST
(REUTERS) - Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng received the Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize on Tuesday (January 29), a prestigious award named after the late U.S. congressman to raise awareness of human rights violations throughout the world.
After receiving the medal from actor Richard Gere at a Washington ceremony Chen said that the most important thing is to shift our attention from the leadership to the people.
"The man we are honoring today is someone who has inspired me and us in an extraordinary way and I am so happy to be here to give him the Tom Lantos Human Rights prize," Gere said.
Chen, who broke free from 19 months of house imprisonment in China in April, sought refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing, embarrassing the Chinese authorities and sparking a diplomatic crisis between Beijing and Washington. The 41-year-old now is studying law in New York.
Chen, standing next to his wife, called on everyone, but namely petitioners, civil organizations, governments and especially the U.S. government, to continue to work to progress human rights.
Video Source: Reuters