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» 05/07/2012
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
06/24/2013 TAIWAN - CHINA
Chen Guangcheng arrives in Taiwan: a journey "for freedom"
09/04/2006 CHINA
Shandong: Blind activist appeals verdict of farcical trial
06/28/2006 CHINA
Shandong: fresh violence targets blind activist cause
10/08/2011 CHINA
Fears for fate of Chen Guangcheng, the blind activist against forced abortions
05/02/2012 CHINA
Chen Guangcheng has left the U.S. embassy in Beijing

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