Oslo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - China's democratic transition "is inevitable and has already begun. We cannot wait for democracy, freedom and equality to come from the outside. The idea that civil society's human rights values are not suitable for China is purely a myth that is propagated by the authoritarian regime and its attempt to hold on to power. " So says Chen Guangcheng, a dissident who fought for years against forced abortions and who managed to leave China after a daring escape from his native village.
Speaking at the Oslo Freedom Forum - annual gathering of activists for human rights - the blind dissident added: " There is nothing to fear from a washed-up ruling power that has lost its moral, ethical and legal foundations." For Chen, the transition to a true democracy in China "is already in place. More than 200,000 protests are recorded in China every year, while there is also growing mobilisation of dissenting voices on the internet."
Known for his battles against forced abortions and sterilizations in Shandong Province, Chen Guangcheng has become an emblem of the struggle for human rights in China. Blind since birth, he spent four years in prison for denouncing abuses by the authorities responsible for implementing the one-child law in the country.
Escaped April 18, 2012, after a daring flight to Beijing, Chen took refuge in the American Embassy. Following threats of reprisals against his family, he agreed to leave the embassy and be hospitalized to treat a foot, injured during the escape. Joined by his wife and his two sons, he learned from them of the threats they were subjected to and asked to be able to at least go to the U.S. for some time.
The solution was found by the Chinese government: Chen - declared a note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - may apply to go abroad to study "like all Chinese citizens." At present he lives in New York, where he studies Law, but hopes to return soon to China: "The Communist Party will not remain in power forever, and then I will be able to travel freely like all other Chinese."