News / Asia

Chinese Activist Chen Guangcheng Visits Taiwan

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng listens to a reporter's question during a press conference at the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights building in Taipei, Taiwan, June 24, 2013.
Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng listens to a reporter's question during a press conference at the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights building in Taipei, Taiwan, June 24, 2013.
Ralph Jennings
Prominent Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng may have lost his fellowship at an American university because of pressure from Beijing after escaping China’s house arrest for the United States last year. But on Monday he shared a spotlight with Taiwan, an island that seeks to distance itself politically from old rival mainland China. 

Chen, a blind lawyer who had angered Chinese authorities with civil rights and anti-corruption work, arrived in Taiwan Sunday for an 18-day visit that includes meetings with legislators and a speech at the island’s top university. Chen’s first visit to the island gives Taiwan’s embattled president Ma Ying-jeou a chance to show a skeptical public that he has not sold out to China.
 
The 41-year-old activist told reporters Monday that Taiwan could serve as a political model for China.
 
Chen noted that the fact that people can go there to discuss all types of problems,  attests to part of Taiwan’s democracy. Chen added that if there comes a day in mainland China when journalists can freely ask questions as they do in Taiwan instead of using a propaganda department, then mainland democracy will not be too far off.
 
Chen is visiting Taiwan to advocate more freedoms and human rights for fellow Chinese, who are also the ethnic majority of Taiwan, while learning how the Taiwanese democratized. His trip comes shortly after New York University ended his one-year fellowship, a move that the dissident calls pressure from China on American education. The university says Chen’s fellowship simply ended as scheduled.
 
Chen told the news conference he had not decided his next move but that an eventual return to China was inevitable.
 
Political analysts say Chen’s reception on the island, where he is hosted by a local human rights group, will remind the public that democratic Taiwan can stand up to China. Taiwan is often overshadowed by Beijing’s huge economy and global diplomatic clout. The two sides have grown closer since 2008, when Ma took office and put aside six decades of political hostilities to broker talks on trade and investment.
 
Some Taiwanese say President Ma has grown too close to China, which they see as a continued political and military threat. William Sharp, professor and author of the book Random Views of Asia from the Mid-Pacific, said the visit will put Taiwan in a welcome spotlight.
 
“Chen Guangcheng’s visit to Taiwan to address issues of judicial integrity, freedom, human rights is really an opportunity for Taiwan to emphasize its vibrant democracy, to let the world know Taiwan is a bed rock of democracy,” Sharp said.
 
But President Ma has declined so far to meet with the visiting dissident. China is expected to keep quiet about Chen’s visit, preferring not to rile the Taiwanese public. Analysts say that because Chen’s visit threatens neither China’s territorial claim over Taiwan nor its goal for eventual unification, China has little reason to protest.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
June 24, 2013 1:14 PM
Each year, million mainlanders visit Taiwan and they are not blind and they can see the real Taiwan with their own eyes. Also millions Chinese are visiting or studying around the world every year. China is good or bad, they will judge by themselves.
In Response

by: joezhifu from: Singapore
July 01, 2013 2:41 AM
I agree that millions with family on both sides of the fences wish only to see progress and peace. Dont need an American sponsored blind man to explain to all. Thank you.
In Response

by: Sing from: USA
June 24, 2013 5:57 PM
There is no good or bad for PRC it is just different political point of view. To the corrupted and in power official it is good but for the normal mass is it bad? Chen has the rights of freedom of speech and able to express different views, with that soceity can advance.
In Response

by: john from: canada
June 24, 2013 5:49 PM
I see you too positive to mainland authority. It is absolutely China has pressured University of New York to end Chen's fellowship. Everyone know China has directed students to boycott the University of New York.
You live in Canada you should know Canada is friendly with Chinese. However, if you argue with them the value of human, you will destroy image of Chinese. Ask how come Chinese have been wished their brain and ask China could be friend with Canada and other counties.
I hope you can change your comment in internet and let people see real Chinese.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs