Chinese authorities have taken a tough tone, criticizing what they called meddling and demanding an apology for the way U.S. diplomats handled Chen Guangcheng’s incidents.
Under a moonless sky, Chen escaped his heavily guarded home. He scaled a high wall and fled in the darkness from the village where he had been confined for the past year and a half. From there, he traveled nearly 640 kilometers to Beijing, then took a flight into the U.S. diplomatic protection on April 22.
Blinded at an early age by a fever, Chen taught himself law and began attempting to translate the rights that exist only on paper into reality.
Unfortunately, he had been put in jail for exposing forced abortions and sterilizations under China’s one-child policy.
In a string of interviews, Chen said he now wants to leave China as soon as possible. “My fervent hope is that it would be possible for me and my family to leave for the U.S.” He continued explaining, “I feel unsafe. My rights and safety cannot be assured here. Basically, I am very worried.”
With him at the hospital for his leg fractured during escape, his family backed his decision to reach the U.S. “When I was inside the U.S. embassy, I didn’t have my family, so I didn’t understand some things. After I was able to meet them, my idea changed.”
Chen also told The Associated Press that friends of his who had tried to visit him have been beaten, his wife had been threatened with death, and U.S. officials had been prevented from seeing him in person. He feels abandoned and his fate now is in the hand of the Chinese government.
But, “progress has been made to help him,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters in Beijing, then saying she was encouraged by China’s suggestions that Chen might be allowed to go abroad. Victoria Nuland, State Department spokeswoman, also told Reuters that Chen had been offered a fellowship from an American university, where he could be accompanied by his wife and two children.
Clinton agreed not to offer the 40-year-old lawyer asylum, which would have caused a major embarrassment for China. In return, China agreed to let him go to the U.S. as a visiting Chinese student. It was a clear sign that China and the U.S. have reached a deal, no matter who makes concession for reconciliation.
As long as humanity exists, human issues would be there. In Chen’s case, if the barefoot lawyer is allowed to go overseas for studying, it would be the ultimate solution Chen wanted, the win-win policy China promoted, and the human rights America required.
Up to now, China still keeps quiet on Wang Lijun’s bid for refuge at the U.S. consulate in Chengdu last February.