Chinese Activist to Receive Passports in 2 Weeks
May 17, 2012
Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng says he and his family will be
issued passports to leave the country within the next two weeks.
Chen told Western reporters Thursday that Shangdong provincial security
officials brought visa applications for him and his family to fill out
the day before, and that passport photos were taken. On Wednesday, Chen
discussed the issue in an interview with VOA's Mandarin Service.
"Today I applied for a passport. Today I filled forms out," Chen told
VOA. "[They] said within 15 days [I will receive my passport]."
Once Chen and his family receive the passports, they can travel to the
United States, where he has been offered a fellowship by New York
Chen fled to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing last month after escaping
repressive house arrest in Shangdong province. He left the embassy and
entered a hospital for treatment, after agreeing to a deal reached by
U.S. and Chinese authorities that would allow him to stay in a "safe"
place in China and study law.
he changed his mind hours after leaving U.S. protection, saying his
family had been threatened.
Officials in Shangdong province have charged Chen Guangcheng's nephew,
Chen Kegui, with attempted homicide after he allegedly attacked local
officials who broke into the elder Chen's house after his escape.
The advocacy group Chinese Human Rights Defenders says it learned that
Chen Guangcheng's brother, Chen Guangfu, was tortured by authorities
shortly after the other man's escape.
Chen is a self-taught lawyer and human rights activist who has been
blind since childhood. He was given a four-year prison sentence in 2006
for exposing abuses under China's forced abortion policy aimed at
population control. He was then subjected to an abusive house arrest
after his release from prison in 2010.