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Blind activist wants to leave China: friends

2012/05/03 21:16:11

Taipei, May 3 (CNA) Two Chinese who had access to blind activist Chen Guangcheng said Thursday that after learning what was happening around him, Chen has changed his mind and said he and his family would like to leave China -- a request that has been made to the United States.

Zeng Jinyan, wife and human rights activist Hu Jia, met Chen and his family on the ninth floor of Chaoyang Hospital in Beijing Wednesday. Zeng said when she left them in the evening, Chen made his decision to leave China, knowing that that was the only way he could protect his wife and children.

In a twitter post, Zeng said Chen had insisted on staying in China, and American officials had repeatedly confirmed that decision, telling him if that was his decision, they would respect it.

Zeng quoted Chen's wife, Yuan Weijing, as having persuaded Chen to step out of the American Embassy earlier that day because without Chen coming out, Yuan and kids would not be able to be united with him and they would be sent back to Shandong Province, where they had escaped.

Zeng stressed that in a phone talk Wednesday night, "Guangcheng for the first time told me that his whole family wanted to leave (China)."

Zeng said policemen began to monitor her Wednesday night, following on her early Thursday, in a black car, when she sent her child to kindergarten.

Later, police told her, "You cannot go out any more," declaring that she was under house arrest.

Teng Biao, a Chinese human rights lawyer who had talked with Chen over the phone Wednesday night, confirmed that Chen had changed his mind and now hoped to leave China.

Teng talked with Chen six times, and therefore could "clearly understand his change of mind. No matter for what reason -- threat or not -- he had departed from the U.S. Embassy, now he is obviously feeling that he is unsafe."

Teng said what he did was give Chen as much information as possible, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry's attitude, media reports on his drama, concerns of Chinese netizens, and the whereabouts of He Peirong who helped Chen escape from Shandong and others.

Teng said he told Chen: "If even you have made certain promises, you still have enough time to change your mind now. If you make a clear request, the U.S. Embassy will not turn down your bid to re-enter its compound."

Teng stressed that no one had the right to make any decision on behalf of Chen Guangcheng, but whoever has access to Chen is obligated to give him all sorts of information so he could make a right decision.

"Chen told me he had very little information before leaving the U.S. Embassy and his wife Yuan Weijing. who has been isolated for many years and under constant threat, too has very little information," Teng said.

Teng also said Chen still enjoyed "good communication channels" with the U.S. Embassy at the moment.

"The whole family's wish to go to the U.S. is now very clear, and they have explained to the U.S. side the reasons for the change of mind," said Teng, who also posted his message on Twitter, which is blocked in China.

A BBC report quoted Reuters as reporting that U.S. officials were continuing to talk with Chen; once they have come to a clear understanding of Chen's true intention, they will do all they can to help him achieve his goal.

(By Huang Chi-kuan and S.C. Chang)
Enditem/npw