Dissident Chen urges US: Stand firm on China

View photos
FILE - In this Thursday, May 31, 2012 file photo, blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Nine months after he escaped the purgatory of house arrest in China for the more sedate life of a New York University law student, Guangcheng is receiving a human rights award in Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Blind dissident Chen Guangcheng is urging China's people to end to the communist-governed nation's "leadership of thieves" and for Washington not to "give an inch" on human rights in its relations with Beijing.

Chen made the comments as he received an award from a human rights group in a ceremony attended by several U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

The 41-year old lawyer caused a diplomatic crisis last April when he fled house arrest in rural China and sought refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. China subsequently allowed him to come to the U.S. to study law.

Chen urged an end to communist rule that "maintains a monopoly on power and enslaves the people."

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte said Chen had "bravely stood up in the face of oppression."