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Activists: Chinese Dissident Chen Guangcheng 'Safe'

Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng is seen in a video posted on YouTube on April 27, 2012 by the Chinese news website Boxun.com.
Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng is seen in a video posted on YouTube on April 27, 2012 by the Chinese news website Boxun.com.
Nico Colombant

Human rights activists said Friday that Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, who has spoken out against forced abortions, is safe after escaping house arrest earlier this month. But his exact location has not been confirmed.

Friends and fellow activists say Chen escaped Sunday, evading guards who had been keeping him inside his home in the eastern Shandong province.

They say Chen, who is blind, fled at night by scaling a high wall and was taken by car, evading checkpoints, before making it to Beijing.

Chen Guangchen background:

  • Self-taught lawyer, blinded by a fever in infancy
  • Jailed in 2006 after exposing forced abortions and sterilizations
  • Named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of 2006
  • Under house arrest since his release from prison in September, 2010
  • Escaped his heavily-guarded home on April 22, 2012
  • Posted video online days later detailing abuses he says he and his family suffered

Chen, a self-taught lawyer, has accused authorities of forcing thousands of women to have late-term abortions or sterilizations under China's policy of restricting the size of most families. Chen and his family were put under round-the-clock house arrest in 2010, after he was released from a four-year jail sentence.

Close friend and fellow activist Hu Jia said Friday that he believed Chen was allowed into the U.S. embassy in Beijing, but this has not been confirmed.

A U.S. embassy spokesman said he did not have any information on Chen. A U.S. State Department spokeswoman repeatedly said during her daily briefing Friday that she had no comment on Chen.

Chen released an online video Friday addressed to Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in which Chen said he had been beaten.  

New Jersey Representative Chris Smith has raised awareness about Chen's plight.

"I am relieved to hear the reported news of human rights advocate Chen Guangcheng's escape from extended illegal home confinement and hope that he is safe as his supporters have indicated," he said.

But Smith said he is worried about the safety of Chen's family members.

The New York-based group Human Rights Watch called on China to guarantee Chen's safety.  

Another U.S.-based group, All Girls Allowed, which campaigns against gender-selective abortions, released a statement calling on the U.S. government to keep China accountable and to protect Chen, if he is at the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

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by: Jonathan Huang
April 29, 2012 6:54 PM
@Bill, you are ignorant. Chinese president, Hu jintao only has one kid, Chinese premier Wen jiabao only has one child. Bo xilai has two kids, one with former wife and one with the second. All the top leaders set samples for all Chinese. That is why majority Chinese support this policy. Cuz it is for all Chinese goodness.

by: Bill
April 29, 2012 9:31 AM
Sterilization and the one child policy in China is one example of the Chinese governments invasion of the personal liberties of their people. Fangfang's response: of course you are going to support the Chinese governments position if you don't you will end up in jail or worse you will be murdered by the Chinese government.

by: jonathan huang
April 28, 2012 8:06 AM
Majority Chinese agree with the one child policy. And top CCP leaders all follow this policy, if you dont believe it, just go check how many kids Hu jingtao and Wen jiabao have! Do you really think dictators will follow this strict law? Since top CCP leaders also obey the law then it doesnt violate human rights!

by: Jonathan Huang
April 28, 2012 4:54 AM
as China's economy is fast growing, hope CCP can also improve her governing skills. No doubt Chinese will enjoy much better life in the future.
US has its own violations of human rights, but rarely heard, because the media s are controlled by US government. The future of US is what to be doubt.

by: fangfang
April 28, 2012 3:13 AM
I come from chinese rural area,i am female college student.I agree with the sterilizations policy.If the government don't do that,ijust can't imagine the consuquence.The population of china is so large,but the resource is limited.If the government haven't take the sterilization policy,hungry,disorder,may be war will happen in the near future.

by: Xie
April 28, 2012 1:38 AM
In china,no human right

by: CcyY
April 27, 2012 7:44 PM
I hope that Chinese some top leader who emphasizes reform of political institutions says something about Chen in a proper way

by: Sally
April 27, 2012 7:11 PM
I also hate the Chinese government for its lack of human resource. When I was a child, my had to flee away, the government demolished the house, took away everything from us, including the pot and the bed for me and my 6-year old sister to live with.
These past events had brought us so much pain, and the original reason was only caused by the government. So I hate it so much. In China there is no human right, and never is there any only if the one-party exists.

by: qinfung
April 27, 2012 4:00 PM
The best way is put down dictators from office

by: Scott
April 27, 2012 2:59 PM
They hate him because represents the Chinese that are awake, and tired of their government hostility. There would be no stopping a democratic China. When the rest of the people wake up from their slumber, they will realize they have been held back because of communism. I hope he makes it to safety. Also kudos for the bravery of the people that helped him
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