News

Chinese Dissident Wants to Meet Clinton, Go to US

Blind activist Chen Guangcheng (C) speaks with his wife Yuan Weijing (2nd R) and children as U.S. ambassador to China Gary Locke (facing camera, 3rd R) and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell (facing camera,
Blind activist Chen Guangcheng (C) speaks with his wife Yuan Weijing (2nd R) and children as U.S. ambassador to China Gary Locke (facing camera, 3rd R) and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell (facing camera,
Nico Colombant

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who is in a Beijing hospital after leaving the U.S. embassy on Wednesday, says he wants to meet visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and be allowed safe passage with his family to the United States.  U.S. lawmakers and American-based human rights activists are also urging help for the blind activist who has spoken out against forced abortions and sterilizations in China. 

During a Thursday hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Republican Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey spoke with Chen by cell phone.

Chen said he wants to meet with Secretary Clinton, to thank her and ask her for more help to go to the United States so he can rest.  He added that he is worried about the safety of his relatives in eastern Shandong province, where he was under house arrest.  Chen also requested that his freedom of movement be guaranteed.

He spoke from a hospital in Beijing, where he has been staying with his wife and two children, while being treated for a foot injury.  Friends and activists in Beijing say they have been prevented access to the hospital.

A senior State Department official said there are indications that U.S. officials will be able to see Chen on Friday.  Clinton, who is in Beijing, where she has spoken about the importance of human rights in China, has not mentioned Chen publicly.

Human rights activists say they have received reports that Chen might have been coerced into leaving the U.S. embassy in Beijing, just as Secretary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner arrived for security and economic talks.

U.S. officials say Chen left the embassy willingly, after an agreement was reached with Chinese authorities to allow the eventual relocation of his family and grant Chen permission to study law at a university in China.

During the hearing, Representative Smith expressed displeasure with the deal.

“There are many questions and there are even more concerns.  How will the United States and China agreement on Chen and his family’s safety be enforced?  What happens if Chen or any member of his family suffers retaliation” he said.

Another Republican representative, Frank Wolf of Virginia, promised an investigation.

“Was there any coercion, subtle coercion, forced coercion or pressure involved?  What were the internal State Department and White House deliberations?  When the dust settles ((i,e., soon)), I intend to formally request to review all cable traffic, classified or otherwise, that surrounded these negotiations,” he said.

Wolf said what initially seemed to be a diplomatic triumph, when Chen fled house arrest to the safety of the U.S. embassy, has turned into a “diplomatic fiasco.”

Pastor Bob Fu, president of the U.S-based Christian human rights group ChinaAid, told the hearing that he was shocked and disappointed by Chen’s departure from the U.S. embassy.

“Why is there no other option on the table offered to Chen?  For instance, why would the U.S. embassy not tell Chen that, 'You have a choice, that you can stay, we can continue to negotiate with the Chinese government to allow your wife and two children to come to the U.S. embassy, so that you can have a safe environment to discuss your future," he said.

Other activists said there are reports of a new crackdown on activists close to Chen and on others seeking broader human rights in China.  They said it is important for U.S. officials to take these matters seriously and to take bold action to secure Chen’s freedom.

Chen was released from four years in prison in 2010 and was placed under house arrest.  Chen, who is self-taught in law, has been an outspoken critic of forced abortions and sterilizations in China.

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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Jonathan Huang
May 04, 2012 9:43 PM
@ Mike, if all those hated China or unhappy about China just leave China, then we dont need any changes do we?
US should accepts to receive more Chinese who is suffering.

by: chen
May 04, 2012 1:51 AM
You do not understand our suffering

by: cctv
May 03, 2012 11:49 PM
chen is a traitor to China.

by: William
May 03, 2012 8:24 PM
Wait and see

by: Lee
May 03, 2012 7:56 PM
The CP must meet its end this time,it cannot give a blind a safe room to stay!

by: Orlando Gonzalez Villazon
May 03, 2012 7:49 PM
The family Chen needs asylums, protects the human right and The USA helps leave China next soon.

by: Laura B.
May 03, 2012 7:17 PM
Takes a blind man to show the world how to stand up to Chinese dictatorship

by: Mike
May 03, 2012 5:10 PM
I don't care if Mr. Chen leaves China as long as he does not come to the U.S. But he should stay in China and do his best to help his own people. If all the activists leave China then who will instigate change?

by: BCCPA
May 03, 2012 12:18 PM
what a joke, CHina bullied OBAMA and now this guy is toast......

by: Pete Smith
May 03, 2012 11:13 AM
Chen "reversed himself" - how does anyone, let alone a blind man reverse himself? What on earth does that mean?
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