Saturday, 5 May 2012

Escaped Chinese Blind Activist wants to go to U.S.

Chen Guangcheng the blind Chinese activist who escaped from house arrest said at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing that it was a decision he made on his own and he regretted it and wants the U.S. officials to help him and his family to family to move to United States.

In a speech at his hospital room in Beijing, he said that he wanted them to protect human right through concrete actions. He expressed fear that him and his whole family are in great danger and wish to talk to Hillary Clinton and hope she could help him and his family to leave China to the United States. Chen was referring to Hillary Clinton whose mission to China on Wednesday was for trade talks and now found herself in a deep diplomatic firestorm.

In April, the self-taught 40-year-old lawyer and human rights activist fled to Beijing after he escaped house arrest in the eastern China province of Shandong and reportedly took refuge in the U.S. embassy for six days before he left on Wednesday for an undisclosed hospital.

Chan’s refuge at the U.S. embassy has raised some diplomatic roars between United States and China. This will certainly to some extent shift the focus if Hillary Clinton’s trade talks meeting with Chinese leaders. According to Chen, he claimed that he was not allowed to call his friends from inside the embassy, he could not keep up with news and did not have a lot of information and didn’t even know a lot of things going on around him.

He said he left the embassy after U.S. officials encouraged him to do so but he expressed a great fear that his life and that of his wife would be in danger if they were to remain in China. “Anything could happen” he said.

He expressed a very great disappointment in the U.S. government and claimed that he has been lied to. In his speech, he claimed that the embassy kept lobbying him to leave and promised to have people stay with him at the hospital, but noticed they were all gone as soon as he checked into the hospital room.

At the hospital, he reunited with his family, but claimed that his wife has been badly treated by Chinese authorities after his escape. According to him, his wife was tied to a chair by police for two days; they carried sticks to their house and threatened to beat her to death. The police had moved to their house, they eat in their table and used their stuff. Their house is teeming with security from the roof to the yard. They had installed surveillance cameras inside the house and build electric fences around the yard. The claimed that he was threatened that if he did not leave the U.S. embassy, his wife will be send to Shandong and the people there would beat her.

He said that some of his supporters has been rounded up by Chinese officials after his escape and some of them had been placed under house arrest. He appealed to the U.S. President Barack Obama to do more about human rights in China.

Chen’s Wife, Yuan Weijing, said she would want to leave China for United States and does not want to raise her children in China were according to her, they would not have future. She said she would have left the hospital to appeal to Hillary Clinton to help them leave China but for the hospital guards who have forbid her from leaving. According to her, if they stay in Beijing or get sent back to Shandong, their lives would be in danger and hope under such circumstances, based on the U.S. government values of protecting human rights would assist them to leave China.

The present situation has really proven to be an enormous test for the Obama administration’s approach to relations with China, straining its commitment to uphold human rights and maintain steady ties with China.

In defending the U.S. action, Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said that Chen voluntarily left the embassy after talks with U.S. Ambassadors to China Gary Locke whether he was ready to leave the embassy voluntarily. He claimed to buttress his point by putting some pictures out, He claimed that Chen was very excited and he thinks he was anticipating the struggle ahead. He added that there was a lot of warmth between them and Chen.

In a reaction from Washington, State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland said that Chen had never before now spoke with any U.S. official about physical or legal threats to his wife and children. She added that Chen was notified that if he decides to remain at the embassy he would be given opportunity to do so but his family would be returned to Shandong and they would lose their opportunity to negotiate for reunification. According to her, Chen never sought political asylum in the United States during his days at the embassy, rather he expressed his desire to stay in China, reunify with his family, continue his education and work for the reform of his country. And due to that, all American diplomacy was hence directed at putting him in the best possible position to achieve his goals.

According to a senior State Department official, on April 26 when Chen entered the embassy, he requested medical treatment for a foot injury he suffered while climbing one of the eight walls he scaled during his escape from his home village. U.S. medical personnel conducted a series of medical test and administered appropriate treatment while he was at the embassy. U.S. officials claimed that it was Chen who decided to leave the embassy for a hospital in Beijing for treatment. He did so after a number of understandings that China has acknowledged that he will be humanely treated if he remains in China.

U.S. officials claimed that Chen who had reunited with his wife and two children who he had not seen for a few years is to have access to U.S. doctors and other visitors. According to U.S. officials, Clinton was the first person Chen called and in an excited and broken English he said to Clinton, “I want to kiss you”.

Clinton expressed satisfaction in the conducts of the U.S. officials at the embassy during the stay of Chen and the departure from the U.S. embassy in a way that reflected his choices and the values of the American people. She was glad to have a chance to speak to him and congratulates him in a written statement on being reunited with his wife and family.

A China analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former State Department and a CIA official Douglas Paal, said that the reversal of Chen may be a way to put Beijing on notice that the world is watching them and they better follow through with the their promise. Beijing in other to maintain their relations with the United States are now under a open and transparent obligation to provide Chen all the security and assurances the told the Americans.

Chen escaped from his more than 18 month house confinement in Shandong after serving a 4-year prison term over his advocacy for what he called abusive practices such as forced abortion and sterilization by China’s family planning officials. Chen made his way to Beijing on April 22, moving between safe places before finally seeking refuge in the U.S. Embassy. Several fellow activists and friends have expressed concern about his health.

Chen changed his heart after Chinese officials guaranteed him that there will be no further legal issues directed at him and any reports of mistreatment against him will be investigated. According to U.S. officials, Chen wanted to stay in China and move to a safe environment away from the province where he was kept under house arrest. He wanted to attend the university to pursue a course of study.

Clinton highlighted that the next crucial task for the Chinese government was to keep their commitment to Chen about his future and the opportunity to pursue a higher education in a safe environment in China. She added that the United State government would in the henceforth be committed to seeing that these task are carried out by the Chinese government.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin, in a comment by the state-run news agency Xinhua referred to the action U.S. as being totally not acceptable and according to him, it was a total interference with Chinese domestic affairs and said that Chen leaving the embassy was for his own volition.

According to Xinhua, China had issued a statement t the United State to stop misleading the public after Clinton made a statement on a Chinese citizen into the U.S. Embassy in what Beijing called through an abnormal means.

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