China activist seeks official help to go to US

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, isolated in a Beijing hospital, on Sunday appealed for official help to leave the country after a US-brokered diplomatic solution paved the way for his departure.

Chen is at the centre of a major diplomatic wrangle between China and the United States after he dramatically escaped harsh house arrest in the eastern province of Shandong and sought refuge at the US embassy in Beijing.

He has been offered a fellowship from New York University but injuries sustained during his flight and official restrictions on access to him have prevented him from completing the necessary formalities to leave.

The activist was escorted to the Beijing hospital by US officials on Wednesday, but said his friends had been barred from visiting and US diplomats had only been allowed to see his wife, who was with him at the facility.

"Now I have notified the hospital to invite them (government officials) to help me do the procedures. I really don't have a way," he told AFP in a telephone interview.

"It's even difficult for me to get out of bed and my other friends cannot come, so I have no way. They (US diplomats) have come, but they can't see me."

Chen, who riled authorities by exposing forced abortions and sterilisations under China's "one-child" policy, says he wants to depart for the United States for his safety and that of his wife and two young children.

China's foreign ministry said on Friday that he would be allowed to apply to study abroad, signalling then-visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had secured a deal with the Chinese government.

Chen, 40, a self-taught lawyer, is in hospital being treated for foot injuries sustained during his escape from his village home, where he says he was beaten and kept under constant surveillance.

Friends of the dissident told AFP Chen and his family were preparing to go to the United States and might leave soon though his departure would depend on the Chinese government giving permission and issuing passports.

Jerome Cohen, a New York University professor who is a friend and adviser to Chen, said he may go to the United States "soon".

"I'm hoping it's a done deal. I was very excited when I saw the announcement by the foreign ministry spokesman on Friday afternoon," Cohen told AFP by telephone from his US home.

"That's an open signal that they are prepared to let him come abroad for a period of study," said Cohen, who spoke to Chen twice before he left the US embassy but not since.

A spokesman for New York University said Friday that the activist had been invited to study there.

Chen said he did not know how long he would be in hospital, but fellow activist lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who spoke to him by phone late Saturday, said he would probably be in the hospital a few more days for treatment.

"The current situation is that he hopes he and his family can go together to the United States," Jiang told AFP on Sunday. "He hopes to come back."

The entrances of the Chaoyang Hospital compound remained tightly guarded by uniformed police on Sunday and the wary authorities kept journalists in a designated area outside, an AFP photographer at the scene said.

If Chen decides to take up the NYU offer, he would be a visiting scholar at the law school with a programme of study and lecture, Cohen said.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he got here within a week. But if it takes a month, it doesn't matter and it wouldn't surprise me either," he said.

US officials appeared to be keeping the details, including a timescale, of any agreement with Beijing deliberately vague, fearing that it would fall through if China felt embarrassed on its home soil.

The US State Department said it expected China to move "expeditiously" to grant Chen a passport.

US Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday said the United States was prepared to grant Chen a visa as soon as he applies for one.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • High spirits battle: Asia tycoons vie for cognac maker Louis Royer

    * Louis Royer valued at about $150 mln - sources * Suntory selling cognac maker as part of portfolio reshuffle * Asia cognac demand seen rising 13 pct in 2015-19 -Euromonitor (Adds graphic link) By Denny Thomas and Khettiya Jittapong HONG KONG/BANGKOK, May 30 (Reuters) - Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is considering buying cognac maker Louis Royer, people familiar with the matter said, potentially locking horns with a Philippine tycoon for the French firm amid a forecast …

  • OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF
    OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF

    The Philippine government is asking the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to finally complete the tripartite review process of the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The review – snagged  for several years as government had its hands full with the peace process with rival faction Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – tackles how the 1996 peace pact with the MNLF has been implemented and centers on the three remaining …

  • Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe
    Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe

    Eight of the resource persons ordered arrested by the Senate finally attended the 21st public hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee into the alleged anomalies involving Vice President Jejomar Binay, but the proceedings turned out to be a review of matters previously presented. For over three hours, the subcommittee heard presentations regarding the alleged hidden assets of Binay and the issue regarding the supposed P200 million in kickbacks he received from a deal between the Boy …

  • DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe
    DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is wrapping up its investigation into the “massacre” of 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A joint team of prosecutors and NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) investigators is about to finish the second part,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has told congressmen. She was responding to questions raised by former senior police officer and now Rep. Samuel Pagdilao of party-list …

  • APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism
    APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism

    BALANGA CITY, Bataan – More than 2,000 delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and international media outfits are expected to enjoy the splendid coastline of Bagac town, which faces the West Philippine Sea, as they converge for a workshop in this province next month. …

  • DOST opens P54-M research facility
    DOST opens P54-M research facility

    A P54-million research and development facility of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was recently opened in Bicutan, Taguig for scientists and researchers to develop technology and techniques to allow Filipino fashion and clothing designers and manufacturers to produce more mainstream products from local, tropical fabrics like piña, banana and abaca. Science Secretary Mario Montejo said the Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles (ICYT) is the DOST’s flagship effort at reviving …

  • DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights
    DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights

    Philippine embassy officials in Doha have raised their concern with Qatari authorities over coercion and human rights violations in the alleged forcing of three Filipino workers convicted of spying to provide information and confess to the crime. Speaking to reporters, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose yesterday said the embassy has raised the matter during several high-level meetings with Qatari officials and the national human rights committee in Qatar. “Our embassy …

  • US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl
    US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl

    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told his Philippine counterpart on Wednesday that Washington’s pledge to defend the Pacific nation remains “ironclad” and called for an end to land reclamation in the South China Sea, officials said. In talks in Hawaii with Voltaire Gazmin, Philippine secretary of national defense, the Pentagon chief “reaffirmed” the strong ties between the two countries and discussed territorial disputes in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has been …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options