Blind Chinese activist left China for the USCurrent affairs
Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese activist whose escape caused a diplomatic rift between Beijing and Washington, has left China for United States.
Mr Chen along with his family boarded his flight, United Airlines UA88, from Beijing’s airport to Newark, near New York, following his release from the hospital. He landed at the International airport in New Jersey shortly after 6pm (2200 GMT) on Saturday and now will be attending New York University where he has been offered a fellowship.
Speaking via an interpreter, Mr Chen addressed the small crowd that had gathered to show their support to fight against injustice.
He said: “We should link our arms and continue to fight for the goodness in the world and continue to fight injustice… I hope everybody works for me to promote justice and fairness in China.
“Nothing is impossible as long as you put your heart to it. As we say in Chinese there is no small affair as long as you put your heart to it.”
Mr Chen, a self-taught lawyer who campaigned against forced abortions against China’s one-child policy, was jailed for four years in 2006 for disrupting traffic and damaging proper until his release in 2010.
His release, however, was followed by a house arrest in his rural home in Shangdong province until his escape after 19 months in April this year.
He and his family had been beaten and harassed with plainclothes guards and security cameras keeping a close eye on him.
He escaped the close scrutiny and sought refuge from US diplomats, which opened talks between the US and China concerning his safety. It was initially agreed that Mr Chen would stay in China with greater protection against Linyi thugs – the plainclothes guards who had him on house arrest – but the deal collapsed after his lawyer, brother and nephew were beaten while he was being treated at the hospital for colitis and a broken foot sustained during his escape.
Despite Mr Chen’s escape to the US, he still remains concerned for the wellbeing of his family who have been left behind, including his mother and a brother. His brother was allegedly beaten for three days after the activist fled his house, while his nephew Chen Kegui is to be tried for attempted murder for fighting off intruders with a knife.