News / Asia

Blind Chinese Dissident Settles Into Life in US

Blind activist Chen Guangcheng smiles during an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, May 31, 2012. Blind activist Chen Guangcheng smiles during an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, May 31, 2012.
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Blind activist Chen Guangcheng smiles during an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, May 31, 2012.
Blind activist Chen Guangcheng smiles during an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, May 31, 2012.
VOA News
One month after arriving in the United States, Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng is spending his days being tutored in English and the basics of the U.S. democratic and legal system.

Chen, his wife and two children are living in an apartment in New York's Greenwich Village provided for him by the law school of New York University, which offered him a fellowship before his departure from China. 

After two hours every morning learning English alongside his wife, Yuan Weijing, Chen devotes himself to studying the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, the 236-year-old document that announced the American colonies were splitting from Britain.

The 40-year-old blind, self-taught lawyer says he plans to resume his activism by focusing on the rights of the disabled.  Chen says he hopes to eventually return to China, which he believes will someday embrace individual rights and the rule of law.

The arrival of Chen and his family in the U.S. on May 19 ended a diplomatic standoff between Beijing and Washington that began with his escape from brutal house arrest in April, then taking refuge in the U.S. embassy in the Chinese capital.  Chen, who had been under house arrest since 2010, was given a four-year prison sentence in 2006 for exposing abuses under China's forced abortion policy aimed at population control.

He left the embassy after agreeing to a deal reached by U.S. and Chinese authorities that would allow him to stay in a "safe" place in China. But he changed his mind after leaving U.S. protection, saying he did not feel safe and asked to go to the United States.

Since his arrival in the U.S., Chen has openly expressed concerns for the safety of family members in China.  His nephew, Chen Kegui, has been charged with attempted murder following a clash with officials who burst into his home after discovering that his uncle had escaped.

The elder Chen has said the charges against his nephew are "absurd," saying he was protecting himself against a "furious pack of thugs" who "brutally assaulted" his family.  Chen said it is likely that Kegui has been tortured, and complained that his nephew is being forced to accept government-appointed lawyers for his defense.

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by: Wangchuk from: NYC
June 22, 2012 10:48 AM
One day people like Chen Guangcheng and Liu Xiaobo will be remembered as heroes who stood up to & defied the CCP dictatorship. In the modern age, one party states usually don't live past 70 or 80 years. The CCP has been ruling China w/ an iron fist for 60 years so they got about 10-20 years left before the CCP is overthrown or disappears.

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