News / Asia

    Chinese Blind Activist Speaks With U.S. Lawmakers, Voices Concern About Relatives

    In this image made from video, blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng is seen on a video posted to YouTube Friday, April 27, 2012 by overseas Chinese news site Boxun.com. In this image made from video, blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng is seen on a video posted to YouTube Friday, April 27, 2012 by overseas Chinese news site Boxun.com.
    x
    In this image made from video, blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng is seen on a video posted to YouTube Friday, April 27, 2012 by overseas Chinese news site Boxun.com.
    In this image made from video, blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng is seen on a video posted to YouTube Friday, April 27, 2012 by overseas Chinese news site Boxun.com.
    Blind Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng told a U.S. congressional hearing Tuesday he is concerned about the persecution he says his relatives have faced following his escape from house arrest in April and flight to the U.S. embassy in Beijing.  Chen's actions triggered an intense round of negotiations between the United States and China.  He was later released to a hospital in Beijing, where he is now waiting for Chinese authorities to approve a request to travel to the United States.  

    Chen says that since he escaped house arrest last month, both his nephew and older brother have been beaten by Chinese authorities.

    Speaking by telephone from the hospital in Beijing, Chen said local authorities and hired thugs raided the home of his older brother around midnight April 26 and later took the man away without explanation.

    In his call with members of a House foreign affairs subcommittee, Chen said the group of thugs beat his brother and his family members violently.

    Chen Guangcheng said his nephew, Chen Kegui, was also savagely attacked during the raid and in the process injured several of his attackers.  Chen Kegui has been charged with attempted murder, but Chen Guangcheng said his nephew was acting in self-defense.

    Chen said his nephew was beaten savagely, leaving his face covered in blood and his clothes torn.  Chen said that three hours after the attack, his face was still bleeding.

    At the hearing, rights activist Bob Fu noted that authorities in China have thwarted attempts to get a lawyer to represent Chen Kegui.  Authorities have revoked the licenses of some lawyers and barred others from traveling to Shandong province where the nephew is being held.  

    "I am very, very concerned that the Chinese government, especially the local Linyi authorities will, based on these trumped up charges [against Chen Kegui] make a fake trial and expeditiously hand him a very severe sentence," said Fu.

    In 2006, Chen Guangcheng was sentenced to four years in prison for exposing abuses under China's forced abortion policy aimed at population control.  After he was released in 2010, he was held under strict house arrest.  He escaped April 22 and later fled to the U.S. embassy in Beijing, where he remained for six days.

    Tuesday was the second time that Chen has called in to address a U.S. congressional hearing in less than two weeks.  When asked by Republican Representative Christopher Smith, the chairman of a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, whether he had anything he would like to tell the U.S. people, he voiced his gratitude to those who have shown concern for his situation and that of his family.

    Chen also said that he is not a hero, but just someone who follows his conscience.  He said he cannot be silent when facing what he called these evils (such as forced abortions) against women and children.

    Chen says U.S. diplomats have been asked to maintain a low profile on his case as discussions continue with their Chinese counterparts on plans for him to travel to New York for a teaching fellowship.

    In an interview with VOA earlier Tuesday, Chen said a Chinese official, authorized by the central government, recently visited him in the hospital to discuss details of his trip to the United States.

    Chen said that while there has not been any substantial progress, he thinks his trip will eventually take place.

    State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Tuesday that the U.S. has finished processing his visa paperwork and that it has been ready for more than a week.

    You May Like

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.