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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs