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  • » 05/07/2012, 00.00

    CHINA - USA

    Chen Guangcheng optimistic towards United States. Confusion reigns in Chinese government



    The blind activist received the promise that the government will open an investigation into the violence suffered by him and his family. Chen has also asked for help to prepare his application for a visa to the United States. But in the meantime the police repel other activists who want to visit him. Fears that Chen Guangcheng will become a model for those who seek justice in China.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) - The blind activist Chen Guangcheng seems optimistic about his future in the United States. However there are conflicting signals fro within the Chinese government and the police on how to handle his case.

    Li Jinsong, a lawyer who has defended Chen during his 2006 trial and against the violence of the authorities in Shandong, told reporters that he was able to speak with activist yesterday afternoon: " "He said the central government sent an official from the letters and petitions office to speak to him, and the official clearly indicated there would be an investigation and handling [of his complaints about abuses by Lin Yi officials, in Guangcheng, where he lived, in charge of his sentence under house arrest for 20 months and violence against him and his family-ed].

    "Chen said he told the official it would be appropriate for a lawyer to be involved and recommended me," Li said. "The official said [they] would seek further instructions, so I'll wait to hear from them."

    The Foreign Office seems to be following to the letter the agreement made with the United States to close the Chen case without too much damage, for China or the U.S..

    Chen was put under house arrest at his home in Yi Lin (Shandong) in September 2010, after serving a sentence of four and a half years for speaking out against forced abortions and sterilizations by Shandong local government. He escaped last April 22, and after a reckless and adventurous trip to Beijing, sought refuge in the U.S. embassy. Following threats of reprisals against his family, he agreed to leave the embassy and go to hospital to treat his foot, injured during his escape. Joined by his wife and two children, he learned from them of threats they had been subjected to since his escape and asked to be allowed to go at least in the U.S. for some time. The solution was found by the Chinese government, Chen - stated a note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - may apply to go abroad to study, "like all Chinese citizens." The New York University immediately offered him a scholarship and the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that his government would grant him a visa as soon as the green light was given by China.

    Such efficiency by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs is overshadowed by harshness and isolation. Yesterday Chen said that he had asked Chinese officials at the hospital for help with the process of applying for the US visa. "It's even difficult for me to get out of bed and my other friends cannot come, so I have no way. They (US diplomats) have come, but they can't see me,'' he told AFP news agency over the phone.

    In recent days, several activists and human rights advocates have tried to meet Chen Guangcheng, but were turned away and even interrogated for hours. According to observers, the contradictory ways in which the Chinese government is acting shows the fear that Chen will inspire other democratic activists: he has managed to make his an international case, challenging local and national authorities in the search for justice.

     

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    See also

    24/06/2013 TAIWAN - CHINA
    Chen Guangcheng arrives in Taiwan: a journey "for freedom"
    After a year in New York the blind dissident, who campaigns against forced abortions and sterilizations in China, arrived in Taipei where "at least one university" could host it as a visiting student. No comment from Beijing for now.

    04/09/2006 CHINA
    Shandong: Blind activist appeals verdict of farcical trial

    The lawyers of Chen Guangcheng, who is renowned for revealing forced abortions in the province, claim his trial was riddled with illegalities and that testimonies were "obtained by torture".



    28/06/2006 CHINA
    Shandong: fresh violence targets blind activist cause

    The lawyer of Chen Guangcheng, an imprisoned activist famed for his battles against forced abortion, was beaten and robbed together with his assistant, while the police of Linyi looked on.



    08/10/2011 CHINA
    Fears for fate of Chen Guangcheng, the blind activist against forced abortions
    Some say that he might have died of torture and lack of medical care. A year after his release from prison, he is in forced isolation in his house with his wife and six year old daughter who can not go to school. Anyone who tries to contact him, is beaten and arrested. Shandong authorities have built a prison-house for him. Wrwf appeal and petition for news of Chen’s health.

    02/05/2012 CHINA
    Chen Guangcheng has left the U.S. embassy in Beijing
    Confirmation from Chinese and American sources. According to Xinhua, "he was there for 6 days, and voluntarily chose to go home." Doubts over whether it was dissident’s decision, who with the choice of escape and refuge at the American diplomatic mission embarrassed both Beijing and Washington.



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