Indonesia the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the world's largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands, at 1,904,569 square kilometres, the 14th largest by land area and the 7th largest in combined sea and land area. With over 261 million people, it is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island, is home to more than half of the country's population; the sovereign state is a constitutional republic with an elected parliament. It has 34 provinces. Jakarta, the country's capital, is the second most populous urban area in the world; the country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, the eastern part of Malaysia. Other neighbouring countries include Singapore, the Philippines, Australia and India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support a high level of biodiversity.
The country has abundant natural resources like oil and natural gas, tin and gold. Agriculture produces rice, palm oil, coffee, medicinal plants and rubber. Indonesia's major trading partners are China, United States, Japan and India. History of the Indonesian archipelago has been influenced by foreign powers drawn to its natural resources, it has been an important region for trade since at least the 7th century, when Srivijaya and later Majapahit traded with entities from mainland China and the Indian subcontinent. Local rulers absorbed foreign cultural and political models from the early centuries and Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms flourished. Muslim traders and Sufi scholars brought Islam, while European powers brought Christianity and fought one another to monopolise trade in the Spice Islands of Maluku during the Age of Discovery. Although sometimes interrupted by the Portuguese and British, the Dutch were the foremost European power for much of its 350-year presence in the archipelago. In early 20th century, the concept of "Indonesia" as a nation state emerged, independence movements began to take shape.
During the decolonisation of Asia after World War II, Indonesia achieved independence in 1949 following an armed and diplomatic conflict with the Netherlands. Indonesia consists of hundreds of distinct native ethnic and linguistic groups, with the largest—and politically dominant—ethnic group being the Javanese. A shared identity has developed, defined by a national language, ethnic diversity, religious pluralism within a Muslim-majority population, a history of colonialism and rebellion against it. Indonesia's national motto, "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika", articulates the diversity that shapes the country. Indonesia's economy is the world's 16th largest by nominal GDP and the 7th largest by GDP at PPP. Indonesia is a member of several multilateral organisations, including the UN, WTO, IMF and G20, it is a founding member of Non-Aligned Movement, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, East Asia Summit, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
The name Indonesia derives from the Greek name of the Indos and the word nesos, meaning "Indian islands". The name dates to the 18th century, far predating the formation of independent Indonesia. In 1850, George Windsor Earl, an English ethnologist, proposed the terms Indunesians—and, his preference, Malayunesians—for the inhabitants of the "Indian Archipelago or Malayan Archipelago". In the same publication, one of his students, James Richardson Logan, used Indonesia as a synonym for Indian Archipelago. However, Dutch academics writing in East Indies publications were reluctant to use Indonesia. After 1900, Indonesia became more common in academic circles outside the Netherlands, native nationalist groups adopted it for political expression. Adolf Bastian, of the University of Berlin, popularised the name through his book Indonesien oder die Inseln des Malayischen Archipels, 1884–1894; the first native scholar to use the name was Ki Hajar Dewantara, when in 1913 he established a press bureau in the Netherlands, Indonesisch Pers-bureau.
Fossils and the remains of tools show that the Indonesian archipelago was inhabited by Homo erectus, known as "Java Man", between 1.5 million years ago and 35,000 years ago. Homo sapiens reached the region around 45,000 years ago. Austronesian peoples, who form the majority of the modern population, migrated to Southeast Asia from what is now Taiwan, they arrived around 4,000 years ago, as they spread through the archipelago, confined the indigenous Melanesians to the far eastern regions. Ideal agricultural conditions and the mastering of wet-field rice cultivation as early as the 8th century BCE allowed villages and small kingdoms to flourish by the first century CE; the archipelago's strategic sea-lane position fostered inter-island and international trade, including links with Indian kingdoms and Chinese dynasties, which were established several centuries BCE. Trade has since fundamentally shaped Indonesian history. From the 7th century CE, the powerful Srivijaya naval kingdom flourished as a result of trade and the influences of Hinduism and Buddhism that were imported with it.
Between the 8th and 10th century CE, the agricultural Buddhist Saile
Sanjiv Chaturvedi is an Indian Forest Service officer and posted as Conservator of Forest at Haldwani in Nainital District of Uttarakhand State. He served as a Chief Vigilance Officer at AIIMS, New Delhi from 2012 to 2014, before that he served in the Government of Haryana from 2005 to 2012, he is a whistleblower of the Haryana Forestry scam case which took place under the regime of Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Kiran Chaudhary and on, in much bigger scams in health sector during his tenure as Chief Vigilance Officer of AIIMS. Sanjiv Chaturvedi is a 1995 batch Electrical Engineer from Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology and a 2002 batch Indian Forest Service officer from the Haryana cadre, he was ranked second in the IFS exam, won two medals for excellence as a trainee. His first posting was in Kurukshetra, where he registered an FIR against contractors on charges of large scale illicit tree felling and poaching hog deer in the nearby Saraswati Wildlife Sanctuary, he was reprimanded by the Principal Secretary, transferred to Fatehabad on 30 May 2007.
The contractors were linked with Hansi-Butana canal project, were close to Chief Minister. In his detailed report, he mentioned serious violations of Wild Life Protection Act, 1972, Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and violation of various Supreme Court orders in under taking construction work inside a Wildlife Sanctuary, without taking statutory approvals. However, this action of Chaturvedi annoyed ruling establishment. On an NGO filed the case of these violations before Supreme Court's Central Empowered Committee, which found all charges of violations as true and Haryana Government had to deposit a fine of 1 crore rupees. In Fatehabad, Chaturvedi found that crores of rupees of public money were spent on a private land belonging to local Congress strongman Prahlad Singh Gillakhera, who on became Chief Parliamentary Secretary of Forest, after winning MLA election in the name of a herbal park establishment project. Gilakhera was reported to be close to Haryana Forest Minister Ms. Kiran Chawdhry, as per media reports.
Letter of PCCF, Haryana, to Chaturvedi in July 2007, noted that Forest Minister was'annoyed' because of stopping of work of Herbal Park. Soon, on 3 August 2007, the Chief Minister of Haryana, suspended Chaturvedi without specifying any reason. On 14 September 2007, the Government issued a chargesheet to dismiss him from service. However, on 3 January 2008, the suspension order was revoked by the President of India Pratibha Patil, who passed strictures against the Hooda Government. After this, the Hooda Government did not withdraw the chargesheet against Chaturvedi; the Hooda Government blocked his promotion by keeping the charge-sheet pending for more than three years. Soon after his suspension, the matter of corruption in Herbal Park establishment was brought before Supreme Court by NGO Ekta Parishad. After that, Haryana Government had to transfer management of this land to Harayana Forest Department under section 38 of Indian Forest Act, 1927, through a notification in Year 2009. After his suspension order was revoked by the President in January 2008, Chaturvedi was assigned to a non-cadre post.
After objections from the Central Administrative Tribunal, he was posted as a divisional forest officer in Jhajjar, in January 2009. There, he exposed a fake plantation scam in February. Several crores of rupees of public money had been embezzled in this scam; the expose resulted in charge-sheets against 40 forest staffers and suspension of 10 staffers. Chaturvedi suspected that senior officers were involved in this multi-crore scam, requested a vigilance probe. Subsequently, Chaturvedi started facing harassment in form of bogus cases. In April 2009, a case was registered against him for misuse of funds and bogus plantation in Jhajjar district – this was the same case which had exposed corruption in; the Hooda Government had to pay him compensation and concede in writing that he had been framed wrongly in this case.. On, OSD of Haryana Chief Minister was found to be involved in this case, as per enquiry conducted by a two member enquiry committee of Central Government. In August 2009, the Haryana Chief Minister's Office abruptly transferred Chaturvedi to Hisar Division.
In Hisar, Chaturvedi exposed yet another fake plantation scam. In January 2010, he sealed a plywood unit for corruption. In collusion with senior forest officers, this unit had paid just ₹26,000 as license fee. In May 2010, when Chaturvedi went on official training in a foreign country for 18 days, the Chief Minister's Office declaraed his post vacant. Chaturvedi was left without a post for a month. Haryana Forestry scam case is a multi-crore fake plantation scam involving Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Kiran Chaudhary and others where government money was embezzled. In 2009, this scam was exposed by the whistleblower, Sanjiv Chaturvedi, an Indian Forest Service officer with Government of Haryana, who filed a case in September 2012 to seek Supreme Court's instructions to CBI to investigate the case. Earlier, Haryana Government had suspended him in 2007 for acting against illegal felling of trees and poaching in Saraswati Wildlife Sanctuary, but his suspension was revoked by the President in 2008 and chargesheet was overturned in 2011 on an appeal against the decision of Haryana government.
An inquiry committee of the Ministry of Environment & Forest found Chaturvedi's allegations against Haryana government true, preferred an inquiry by Central Vigilance Commission and by
India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle
Sri Lanka the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea. The island is geographically separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait; the legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo. Sri Lanka's documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years, it has a rich cultural heritage and the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, the Pāli Canon, date back to the Fourth Buddhist council in 29 BC. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to the modern Maritime Silk Road. Sri Lanka was known from the beginning of British colonial rule as Ceylon. A nationalist political movement arose in the country in the early 20th century to obtain political independence, granted in 1948.
Sri Lanka's recent history has been marred by a 26-year civil war, which decisively ended when the Sri Lanka Armed Forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009. The current constitution stipulates the political system as a republic and a unitary state governed by a semi-presidential system, it has had a long history of international engagement, as a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the G77, the Non-Aligned Movement. Along with the Maldives, Sri Lanka is one of only two South Asian countries rated "high" on the Human Development Index, with its HDI rating and per capita income the highest among South Asian nations; the Sri Lankan constitution accords Buddhism the "foremost place", although it does not identify it as a state religion. Buddhism is given special privileges in the Sri Lankan constitution; the island is home to many cultures and ethnicities. The majority of the population is from the Sinhalese ethnicity, while a large minority of Tamils have played an influential role in the island's history.
Moors, Malays and the indigenous Vedda are established groups on the island. In antiquity, Sri Lanka was known to travellers by a variety of names. According to the Mahavamsa, the legendary Prince Vijaya named the land Tambapanni, because his followers' hands were reddened by the red soil of the area. In Hindu mythology, such as the Ramayana, the island was referred to as Lankā; the Tamil term Eelam, was used to designate the whole island in Sangam literature. The island was known under Chola rule as Mummudi Cholamandalam. Ancient Greek geographers called it Taprobanē from the word Tambapanni; the Persians and Arabs referred to it as Sarandīb from Cerentivu or Siṃhaladvīpaḥ. Ceilão, the name given to Sri Lanka by the Portuguese Empire when it arrived in 1505, was transliterated into English as Ceylon; as a British crown colony, the island was known as Ceylon. The country is now known in Sinhala in Tamil as Ilaṅkai. In 1972, its formal name was changed to "Free and Independent Republic of Sri Lanka".
In 1978 it was changed to the "Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka". As the name Ceylon still appears in the names of a number of organisations, the Sri Lankan government announced in 2011 a plan to rename all those over which it has authority; the pre-history of Sri Lanka goes back 125,000 years and even as far back as 500,000 years. The era spans the Palaeolithic and early Iron Ages. Among the Paleolithic human settlements discovered in Sri Lanka, which dates back to 37,000 BP, Batadombalena and Belilena are the most important. In these caves, archaeologists have found the remains of anatomically modern humans which they have named Balangoda Man, other evidence suggesting that they may have engaged in agriculture and kept domestic dogs for driving game. One of the first written references to the island is found in the Indian epic Ramayana, which provides details of a kingdom named Lanka, created by the divine sculptor Vishwakarma for Kubera, the Lord of Wealth, it is said that Kubera was overthrown by his demon stepbrother Ravana, the powerful emperor who built a mythical flying machine named Dandu Monara.
The modern city of Wariyapola is described as Ravana's airport. Early inhabitants of Sri Lanka were ancestors of the Vedda people, an indigenous people numbering 2,500 living in modern-day Sri Lanka; the 19th-century Irish historian James Emerson Tennent theorized that Galle, a city in southern Sri Lanka, was the ancient seaport of Tarshish from which King Solomon is said to have drawn ivory and other valuables. According to the Mahāvamsa, a chronicle written in Pāḷi, the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka are the Yakshas and Nagas. Ancient cemeteries that were used before 600 BC and other signs of advanced civilisation have been discovered in Sri Lanka. Sinhalese history traditionally starts in 543 BC with the arrival of Prince Vijaya, a semi-legendary prince who sailed with 700 followers to Sri Lanka, after being expelled from Vanga Kingdom (present-day Ben
Deep Joshi is an Indian social worker and NGO activist and a recipient of the Magsaysay award in 2009. He is recognised for his leadership in bringing professionalism to the NGO movement in India, he co-founded a non-profit organisation, Professional Assistance for Development Action, of which he was the Executive Director till 2007. He was awarded the 2009 Magsaysay award for Community Leadership for his work for "development of rural communities", he is a recipient of the civilian honour of Padma Shri. Deep Joshi was born in 1947 in the village of Puriyag in a remote area of Pithoragarh district, Uttarakhand in the Himalayas to Harikrishan Joshi, a farmer, was one of seven children, he received his early education at the local primary school, he took his engineering degree from Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology and holds a masters engineering degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and another on management from Sloan School, MIT. Returning to India, Deep Joshi worked with the Systems Research Institute, as a programme officer with the Ford Foundation in India.
In the coming decades he worked in the field of rural livelihood promotion. In 1983, he co-founded a non-profit organisation, Professional Assistance for Development Action, that recruits college graduates to do community work, which recruits university-educated youth from campuses across India and trains them for grassroots work. Pradan was jointly awarded NGO of the Year 2006 at the first India NGO Award event. PRADAN is involved in building self-help groups, developing land and water resource, natural resource management, forest-based livelihood and agriculture. Pradan formed its first SHG in Alwar, Rajasthan, in 1987. Colleagues at PRADAN include Sankar Datta, he advises the Government of India on poverty alleviation strategies and was a member of the Working Group on Rainfed Areas for the Eleventh Five Year Planning Commission, Govt of India. In 2006, Deep received the Harmony Silver Award for his contributions to society; the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation announced Deep among others as winner of a 2009 Magsaysay award.
On the eve of Republic Day, he was honoured with the prestigious Padma Shri award by the Government of India. He was chosen as the Chairman of the Institute of Rural Management Anand in October 2012, succeeding Dr. Yoginder K Alagh. "Civil society needs to have both heart. If all you have is bleeding hearts, it wouldn't work. If you only have heads you are going to dictate solutions which do not touch the human chord." Interview: Mr. Deep Joshi
Arvind Kejriwal is an Indian politician and a former bureaucrat, the current and 7th Chief Minister of Delhi since February 2015. He worked in the Indian Revenue Service as a Joint Commissioner of Income Tax in New Delhi. Kejriwal is a graduate in mechanical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, he is the national convener of the Aam Aadmi Party. He had served as Chief Minister of Delhi from December 2013 to February 2014, stepping down after 49 days, his party won the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections with a majority, obtaining 67 out of 70 assembly seats. In 2006, Kejriwal was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership in recognition of his involvement in the grassroots level movement Parivartan using right to information legislation in a campaign against corruption; the same year, after resigning from the IRS, he donated his Magsaysay award money as a corpus fund to found the Public Cause Research Foundation, a non-governmental organisation. In 2012, he launched the Aam Aadmi Party.
Following the election, he took office as the Chief Minister of Delhi on 28 December 2013. He resigned 49 days on 14 February 2014, stating he did so because of his minority government's inability to pass his proposed anti-corruption legislation due to a lack of support from other political parties. On 14 February 2015, he was sworn in as Chief Minister for a second term after his party's victory in the Delhi Legislative Assembly election. Arvind Kejriwal was born in an upper middle-class educated family in Siwani, Bhiwani district, Haryana on 16 August 1968, the first of the three children of Gobind Ram Kejriwal and Gita Devi, his father was an electrical engineer who graduated from the Birla Institute of Mesra. Kejriwal spent most of his childhood in north Indian towns such as Sonepat and Hisar, he was educated at Campus School in Hisar and at a Christian missionary Holy Child School at Sonipat. In 1985 he took IIT-JEE exam and scored All India Rank of 563, he graduated from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.
He was posted in Jamshedpur. Kejriwal resigned in 1992, having taken leave of absence to study for the Civil Services Examination, he spent some time in Kolkata, where he met Mother Teresa, volunteered with The Missionaries of Charity and at the Ramakrishna Mission in North-East India and at Nehru Yuva Kendra. Arvind Kejriwal joined the IRS as an Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax in 1995 after qualifying through the Civil Services Examination. In November 2000, he was granted two years' paid leave to pursue higher education on condition that upon resuming his work he would not resign from the Service for at least three years. Failure to abide by that condition would require him to repay the salary given during the leave period, he rejoined in November 2002. According to Kejriwal, he was not given any posting for a year, kept getting his salary without doing any work. For the next 18 months, Kejriwal was on sanctioned unpaid leave. In February 2006, he resigned from his position as Joint Commissioner of Income Tax in New Delhi.
The Government of India claimed that Kejriwal had violated his original agreement by not working for three years. Kejriwal said that his 18 months of work and 18 months of unpaid absence amounted to the stipulated three-year period during which he could not resign and that this was an attempt to malign him due to his involvement with the Indian anti-corruption movement; the dispute ran for several years until, in 2011, it was resolved when he paid his way out of the Service with the help of loans from friends. Kejriwal paid ₹ 927,787 as dues, but stated that this should not be considered as an admission of fault. After joining politics, Kejriwal claimed in 2013 that he had chosen public service over earning crores as an Income Tax Commissioner; this led to a controversy, with the IRS association pointing out that he has never been promoted to the rank of Commissioner of Income Tax. In December 1999, while still in service with the Income Tax Department, Manish Sisodia and others found a movement named Parivartan, in the Sundar Nagar area of Delhi.
A month in January 2000, Kejriwal took a sabbatical from work to focus on Parivartan. Parivartan addressed citizens' grievances related to Public Distribution System, public works, social welfare schemes, income tax and electricity, it was not a registered NGO - it ran on individual donations, was characterised as a jan andolan by its members. In 2005, Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia launched Kabir, a registered NGO named after the medieval philosopher Kabir. Like Parivartan, Kabir was focused on RTI and participatory governance. However, unlike Parivartan, it accepted institutional donations. According to Kejriwal, Kabir was run by Sisodia. In 2000, Parivartan filed a public interest litigation demanding transparency in public dealings of the Income Tax department, organised a satyagraha outside the Chief Commissioner's office. Kejriwal and other activists stationed themselves outside the electricity department, asking visitors not to pay bribes and offered to help them in getting work done for free.
In 2001, the Delhi government enacted a state-level Right To Information Act, which allowed the citizens to access government records for a small fee. Parivartan used RTI to help people get their work done in government departments without paying a bribe. In 2002, the group obtained official reports on 68 public works projects in the area, performed a community-led audit to expose misappropriati
Chen Guangcheng is a Chinese civil rights activist who has worked on human rights issues in rural areas of the People's Republic of China. Blind from an early age and self-taught in the law, Chen is described as a "barefoot lawyer" who advocates for women's rights, land rights, the welfare of the poor, he is best known for accusing people of abuses in official family-planning practices involving claims of violence and forced abortions. In 2005, Chen gained international recognition for organising a landmark class-action lawsuit against authorities in Linyi, Shandong province, for the excessive enforcement of the one-child policy; as a result of this lawsuit, Chen was placed under house arrest from September 2005 to March 2006, with a formal arrest in June 2006. On 24 August 2006, Chen was sentenced to four years and three months for "damaging property and organising a mob to disturb traffic." He was released from prison in 2010 after serving his full sentence, but remained under house arrest or "soft detention" at his home in Dongshigu Village.
Chen and his wife were beaten shortly after a human rights group released a video of their home under intense police surveillance in February 2011. Chen's case received sustained international attention, with the U. S. State Department, the British Foreign Secretary, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International issuing appeals for his release. Chen is a 2007 laureate of the Ramon Magsaysay Award and in 2006 was named to the Time 100. In April 2012, Chen escaped his house arrest and fled to the U. S. Embassy in Beijing. After negotiations with the Chinese government, he left the embassy for medical treatment in early May 2012, it was reported that China would consider allowing him to travel to the United States to study. On 19 May 2012, his wife, his two children were granted U. S. departed Beijing for New York City. In October 2013, Chen accepted a position with the conservative research group Witherspoon Institute, a position at the Catholic University of America. Chen is the youngest of five brothers of a peasant family from the village of Dongshigu, Yinan County, Shandong Province 200 kilometres from the city of Jinan.
When Chen was about six months old, he lost his sight due to a fever that destroyed his optical nerves. In an interview for the New York Review of Books, Chen said that although his family did not identify with an organized religion, his upbringing was informed by a "traditional belief in virtue that’s present in Chinese culture—that might have some Buddhist content, but not that one believes in Buddhism." His village was poor, with many families living at a subsistence level. "When I went to school I’d be happy if I just got enough to eat," he recalled. Chen's father worked as an instructor at a Communist Party school, earning the equivalent of about $60 annually; when Chen was a child, his father would read literary works aloud to him, helped impart to his son an appreciation of the values of democracy and freedom. In 1991, Chen's father gave him a copy of "The Law Protecting the Disabled," which elaborated on the legal rights and protections in place for disabled persons in the PRC. In 1989, at the age of 18, Chen began attending school as a grade one student at the Elementary School for the Blind in Linyi city.
In 1994, he enrolled at the Qingdao High School for the Blind, where he studied until 1998. He had begun developing an interest in law, would ask his brothers to read legal texts to him, he earned a position at the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1998 but because his family was poor, they had to borrow $340 to cover tuition costs. They still fell short of the required $400 and university authorities had to be pleaded with before allowing Chen to enroll, he studied in Nanjing from 1998 to 2001, specializing in acupuncture and massage—the only programs available to the blind. Chen audited legal courses, gaining a sufficient understanding of the law to allow him to aid his fellow villagers when they sought his assistance. After graduation he returned to his home region and found a job as a masseur in the hospital of Yinan County. Chen met Yuan Weijing, in 2001, after listening to a radio talk show. Yuan had called into the show to discuss her difficulties in landing a job after graduating from the foreign language department of Shandong's Chemistry Institute.
Chen, who listened to the program contacted Yuan and relayed his own story of hardship as a blind man living on just 400 Yuan per year. Yuan was moved by the exchange, that year, she traveled to Chen's village to meet him; the couple eloped in 2003. Their son, Chen Kerui, was born that year. In 2005 they had a second child—a daughter named Chen Kesi—in violation of China's one-child policy. Yuan, working as an English teacher at the time of the marriage, left her job in 2003 in order to assist her husband in his legal work. Chen first petitioned authorities in 1996, when he traveled to Beijing to complain about taxes that were incorrectly being levied on his family; the complaint was successful, Chen began petitioning for other individuals with disabilities. With funding from a British foundation, Chen became an outspoken activist for disability rights within the China Law Society, his reputation as a disability rights advocate was solidified when agreed to advocate for an elderly blind couple whose grandchildren suffered from paralysis.
The family had been paying all of the regular taxes and fees, but Chen believed that, under the law, the family should have received government assista