ASIA NEWS REPORT:
The blind dissident spends time in a New York park. "For
the past seven years, I have never had a day's rest," he said. For his mentor,
Prof Cohen, NYU is ready for him. His wife may join him in his studies.
Meanwhile, his family in China continues to endure the authorities'
New 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 their
The 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
A 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.
After 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.
Chen "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
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.
Meanwhile, 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
However, 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.
The 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 authorities.
For 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."
So far, the accused has not yet met any lawyer of his choosing.
SOURCE: ASIA NEWS