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.