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.

    This forum has been closed.
    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?
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora