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Public urged to consider issues raised by Chinese activist's case

2012/05/04 22:33:17

Taipei, May 4 (CNA) The public should focus more on the issues raised by Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese human rights activist, besides being concerned about his safety and future plans following a dramatic escape from house arrest, a fellow Chinese activist said Friday.

The human rights violations exposed by Chen, such as forcedabortion and sterilizations under China's one-child policy, are realproblems in China's society that deserve international attention, saidWan Yanhai, a prominent AIDS activist, during an academic visit toTaiwan.

"We need to show support for Chen by caring for the issues he isconcerned about," said Wan, who fled to the U.S. with his family in2010 due to concerns about his safety in China.

By considering Chen's case, people will be inspired into actionbecause they will realize that all human rights issues are closelyconnected, Wan said.

For instance, women forced to have abortions in Chen's hometown innorthern China could easily get infected with HIV through bloodtransfusions, which worsens the problem of AIDS in China, said Wan,who has been campaigning about the AIDS situation in China for thepast two decades.

"What Chen has been advocating is a unified voice of mankind, andwe can all learn from his case and realize that we are not thatdifferent from each other," he said.

Wang Xuezhen, another Chinese human rights advocate who repeatedly tried to visit Chen while he was under home confinement, with only limited success, said via video conference that people like her have drawn sustenance from Chen for his views and for his recent escape from house arrest.

Recalling her own attempts at trying to visit Chen with friends, Wang, who currently lives in the United States, said the mistreatment they received at the hands of Chinese authorities during their attempts was absurd.

"They beat my male friends, took all my belongings and charged me with stealing a cow," she recalled of one of her seven attempts trying to reach Chen, which was eventually blocked by local forces.

"Chen's fight signifies people's willingness to criticize and take action," she said. "Chinese people should no longer act indifferently toward these social issues."

Two days after Chen left the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, where he had sought protection after fleeing from house arrest on April 22, Chen told U.S. lawmakers by phone that he wanted to go to the U.S. with his family due to safety concerns.

Although the blind lawyer had earlier come to an agreement with Chinese authorities in a U.S.-brokered deal -- which stipulated Chen could stay in China and be treated as an ordinary citizen -- he later changed his mind after coming to the conclusion that China would not honor its pledge.

"When I left (the U.S. Embassy), I realized the situation regarding my family was bad and the deal was not being carried out well," the 40-year-old was quoted by Radio Free China as saying. "Of course, something then changed in my mind."

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)