12/04/2012, 00.00
CHINA
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Chen Guangcheng challenges Xi Jinping to stop "vendettas", start "reforms"

The blind dissident, who now lives in the United States, releases a video online for World Human Rights Day. He asks China's new leader to continue reforms the country needs and to open up to democracy. He tells him he has no choice, there will be a "transition" and only he can decide whether it will be "in a peaceful way or a violent way".

New York (AsiaNews) - Chen Guangcheng, the blind dissident who fled to the United States after an incredible escape from China, has issued an appeal to China's new leader Xi Jinping in favour of reforms and human rights. The appeal was released in a video posted online by US-based ChinaAid on the occasion of the upcoming World Human Rights Day.

In the tape, Chen refers to the vendetta Chinese authorities has inflicted on him after he fled to the United States, namely the three-year sentence imposed on his nephew Chen Kegui for "interfering" with the course of justice.

Known for his fight against forced abortions and AIDS, the dissident activist cites the example of Myanmar in the video. "If Thein Sein can do it, yet Xi Jinping doesn't, obviously it's not that Xi couldn't do it, but simply that he wouldn't. And that will speak volumes to who he is as a person and as a leader," Chen said.

In an open challenge to China's next president (election in March 2013), Chen wrote, "Dear Mr Xi Jinping, the whole nation is watching you. Whether you will follow the call of heaven and the people to carry out reform, or kidnap the government and maintain the power of the Communist Party, it is a matter of whether China will have the transition in a peaceful way or a violent way."

Chen fled Shandong province, where he was under de facto house arrest, in May 2012. He found refuge in the US Embassy in Beijing, causing a major diplomatic row between the two countries. This ended when he was allowed to travel to the United States to follow a university course.

 

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