News

    Chinese Dissident Tells VOA He Wants to Leave China

    In this photo released by the US Embassy Beijing Press Office, blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, center, holds hands with U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, right, as U.S. State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh, left, applauds, before leaving the U.S. em
    In this photo released by the US Embassy Beijing Press Office, blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, center, holds hands with U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, right, as U.S. State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh, left, applauds, before leaving the U.S. em

    Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese legal activist whose case has become a high-profile diplomatic challenge to both China and the United States, told VOA Friday that a high-ranking government official told him that as long as his public comments on his situation are accurate, his situation will be handled according to the law.

    Chen, who recently escaped from house detention and sought refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing, talked to VOA on a cell phone. He said for the first time the Chinese government responded openly about the persecution he and his family say they have suffered.

    "Last night the government dispatched a fairly high level departmental official to understand what exactly happened in Shandong," Chen said. "They also brought me a bouquet of lilies and carnations. I was very happy they were able to come."

    Chen became famous as a self-taught lawyer who challenged local authorities in court on human rights abuses, particularly on the issue of forced abortions and sterilizations under China’s one-child population policy. He served four years in prison. After he was freed in 2010, security personnel kept him confined to his family’s farmhouse in Linyi, Shandong Province.

    He is now in a hospital, being treated for injuries he suffered during his escape. Chen said he pushed the Chinese official who visited him for greater protections.

    "I furthermore demanded that they immediately order everyone to stop all criminal violations on my family, guarantee all my civil rights, carry out a complete investigation on everything that happened in Shandong, and also openly handle the case," he said.

    Chen’s case has overshadowed long-scheduled high level meetings between the United States and China in Beijing. He took shelter in the U.S. embassy just days before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner arrived in Beijing for long-scheduled meetings.  

    While he was in the embassy, Chen’s friends all said he wanted to remain in China and uphold fairness and justice. On Wednesday, Chen left the embassy, after U.S. officials said they had received assurances from Chinese authorities that Chen would be allowed to relocate his family to Beijing and he would be free to attend university there.

    Within a day, it appeared Chen had second thoughts. On Friday he told VOA he wanted to leave the country.

    "To leave China, I want to rest for a while. Or receive medical treatment, and so on, because ultimately there are security issues," Chen said. "I still do not know my family’s situation. I am unable to contact my brothers. I am unable to contact my family."

    He said his family’s confinement was intensified after his escape. His older brother, Chen Guangfu, was detained by local security forces. Mr. Chen’s nephew, who allegedly attacked a local official who broke into their house, is missing.

    Chen said security forces have tightened their control over his home. "In my courtyard they have installed seven cameras. They have prepared electrified wire netting and mesh wire netting around my house. I think this is very, very difficult to comprehend. All these actions show that the U.S.-China agreement is being poorly carried out. It is probably because this agreement is unprecedented," he said.

    When Chen left the embassy on Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Campbell and other American officials accompanied him to the hospital, where he was reunited with his wife and children.

    Chen is still in the hospital. "My foot is fractured, and there's a cast on it," he said. "I'm lying in bed and it's not easy to move. The complete results of my physical examination have not yet come out. I had a colonoscopy yesterday morning, and the results of the biopsy aren't out yet. I'm waiting for the results now. This is the situation with my overall health."

    Chen had to end the phone call then, because a doctor entered his room. But he took one last moment to express his hopes that the media and the public could pay attention to the safety of his rescuer, He Peirong, and others who helped him.

    He Peirong was taken into custody after she helped Chen escape. Other activists who have gone to see him in the hospital or have supported him have reported being detained or beaten by security officials.

    On Friday, China’s government said Chen is free to apply to study abroad, signaling a possible breakthrough in a diplomatic dispute over his fate.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters in Beijing Friday that she sees progress in the Chen case, and is "encouraged" by the latest Chinese position.  
    The State Department said the U.S. expects that the Chinese government will expeditiously process Chen’s applications for travel documents, and that the U.S. will give Chen’s visa request priority attention.

    The State Department also announced that Chen has been offered a fellowship at a U.S. university that would allow him and his family to travel to the United States.

    Guo Yushan, a supporter who helped hide Chen in Beijing, said the activist has a letter from New York University offering him a fellowship to study there.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: China
    May 05, 2012 11:17 PM
    In China, there's no real human rights under the dictatorship of CCP.

    by: Jonathan Huang
    May 05, 2012 6:48 PM
    @Genghis Khan Inner Mongolia, sorry seems you have trouble with your brain function. Who in China really cares about communism? Yes, you dont like china then go away, there are plenty of Chinese wanna stay or go back. And yes many of my Chinese friends went back China. and I spend few months very year in China too. I do like China! I also like the money I am making in Canada.

    by: Xing
    May 05, 2012 7:48 AM
    @ABC: Chen Guangcheng is an ordinary villager and he is blind man. So you can not judge him on some standards. It is better for him and his family to live in the US. If you said that he is a traitor, he deserves to get his American Dream.

    by: Genghis Khan
    May 05, 2012 6:14 AM
    According to Huang's logic, all Chinese people (Communist China-phobia) should leave China for USA. Huang, I guess you also want to leave China. Be frank!
    Then, all Chinese disappear from China. Great for the world peace!

    by: Jonathan Huang
    May 04, 2012 9:48 PM
    China also wants him to leave China, US wants him to leave China, and now he himself wants to leave China. Great, all three parties are on the same page now, LOL Who else? all dissidents and their families should be allowed to go to US! And US must accept all of them! Or you are against human rights!

    by: Jonathan Huang
    May 04, 2012 9:29 PM
    @Mike, You are wrong, Chen chooses to go to US so he must go and with his families! No doubt CCP will happy of his leaving and get rid of a trouble. And CCP no doubt will allow anyone to go to US. If they are not happy with China or CCP then get out. We both happy right?

    by: Mike
    May 04, 2012 5:35 PM
    There is absolutely no reason for Chen to come to the U.S. None. He should stay in China with his family where he can do the most good.

    by: ABC
    May 04, 2012 4:23 PM
    In the event of of Chen guangchen and Wang Lijun, the United States has been President Hu Jintao of deception and playing. Hu Jintao said Wang Lijun is a traitor, Chen Guangcheng, whether it is also a traitor??? Why is Hu Jintao is so merciful to deal with a traitor Chen Guangcheng?? You know, Chen Guangcheng received Hu Jintaoexpression of cordial flowers. to remind the Chinese and the American people to beware the wolf in sheep's clothing!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora