York (AsiaNews) - Chen Guangcheng, the blind dissident known for his fight
against forced abortions, could start his legal studies at New York University (NYU)
as early as next week as university staff wrap up a research plan for the newly
arrived blind legal activist. Lectures will be given in Chinese since Chen does not speak English. His
wife, Yuan Weijing, may join him in his studies. The couple arrived in the United States with
Chen Guangcheng affair broke out on 26 April when the dissident escaped from
house arrest the authorities had imposed on him after four years of prison.
diplomatic tug-of-war between Beijing and Washington began when he found refuge
at the US Embassy in Beijing, at a time when the two nations were holding their
annual bilateral summit.
two days of impasse, Chen left the embassy on the condition that he be allowed
to leave the country. He was sent to hospital where he was placed under police
guard until he left last Saturday.
"wants to go back to China and
he should go back to China. That's our goal," said Law professor Jerome
Cohen, who served as mentor to the self-taught lawyer. "It is hard to be a
foreigner here and for a refugee trying to have an impact."
Cohen said he believed Chen
had a good chance of returning should he focus on legislation to protect the
disabled. He noted that more Chinese activists had been pressing for legal
reforms without being jailed, such as civil rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang.
Chen Guangcheng has begun to
enjoy his freedom. With his wife and children, he spent Sunday at a park in New
York. "For the past seven years, I have never had a day's rest," he said, "so I
have come here for a bit of recuperation."
the situation for his family back in Shandong seems to be getting worse. His nephew
Chen Kegui is still in prison, persecuted by police, and unable to find a
lawyer to represent him.
Chinese Human Rights Defender (CHRD) obtained a letter addressed to the police chief of the Yinan County
Public Security Bureau (PSB) in Shandong Province contesting the police's
unlawful interference in their efforts to defend Chen Kegui.
The latter was formally
arrested two weeks ago on suspicion of "intentional homicide" for acting in
self-defence when a group of police officers and thugs broke into his home
searching for his uncle who had escaped. The charge is absurd because no one
was killed in the incident.
Lawyers Ding Xikui, of the
Beijing Mo Shaoping Firm (which takes on human rights cases), and Si
Weijiang, of the Shanghai Dabang Law
Firm, wrote the letter. Both have been authorised by Chen Kegui's wife to
represent her husband.
According to the letter, Chen
Kegui's wife retained Ding and Si to represent her husband after two other lawyers
she had hired, Liu Weiguo and Chen Wuquan, were intimidated and harassed by
the two lawyers, Chen Kegui's arrest and detention have no legal basis. "We believe," Ding and Si said
in their letter, that the "Bureau's conduct violates the Criminal Procedural
Law of the People's Republic of China and other administrative and legal
regulations, and seriously violates the legal rights of Chen Kegui and lawyers'
lawful rights to carry out their profession."
far, the accused has not yet met any lawyer of his choosing.