Finally, Chen Guangcheng is out of China: US

Last Updated: Sunday, May 20, 2012 - 09:39

Washington: The Obama Administration has said it is pleased that Chinese dissident, Chen Guangcheng, and his family members were finally able to leave his country for studies in the United States.

"We are pleased that this was able to reach a resolution," Deputy US National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes, told reporters at Camp David yesterday.

Rhodes welcomed the development, adding that Chen will be able to pursue a course of study here in the United States upon his arrival.

"We are pleased with the efforts that have been made within our own government by the State Department and with Chinese authorities, and with Mr Chen to reach this resolution and, again, look forward to Mr Chen arriving here with his family and pursuing a course of study," he said.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, said he is heartened and relieved that Chen Guangcheng and his family are out of China. In a statement, he commended the US diplomats and officials who worked to ensure that the Chinese government followed through on its commitments.

"This episode underscores the need for the United States to forthrightly stand up for the human rights of the Chinese people," Romney said.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said that the arrival of Chen Guangcheng to the US is a milestone in the cause for human rights in China.

"The courage of Chen Guangcheng to risk his life and livelihood to advocate for disadvantaged people in China is an inspiration to freedom-seeking people around the world. I am happy that Mr Chen is now able to safely study in the US, and he and his family can now pursue their goals," she said in a statement.

Sadly, the plight of Chen Guancheng`s family is not over, she said.

"In recent days, there have been disturbing reports that Chinese authorities are targeting his extended family and supporters who are still in China. It is essential that a bright light continues to shine on Mr Chen`s family and the many Chinese people who are fighting against corruption and for human rights in China," Pelosi said.

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CEEC) chairman Christopher Smith and co-chairman Sherrod Brown said they are relieved to learn that Chen Guangcheng, his wife, and two children have arrived safely in the United States.

"Chen endured more than four years in prison in China, after which he and his family suffered for more than a year and a half under brutal conditions of illegal home confinement," they said.

"We remain deeply concerned, however, that Mr Chen`s supporters and family members who remain in China face the real threat of retaliation from Chinese officials. The Chinese government must guarantee their safety and well-being, and ensure that their fundamental rights to free expression, liberty of movement, and access to counsel are fully protected," they demanded.

Smith and Brown said that the Chinese government must also fulfil its promise to investigate the illegal actions taken against Chen, and demonstrate that China respects the rule of law.

"Chen exposed abuses in China`s population planning policy, including forced abortion and sterilisation. He advocated for the disabled and villagers poisoned by water pollution. Others continue to fight for women`s rights, worker rights, freedom of religion, and an end to corruption," they said.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the dissident`s journey to the US marks the end of a seven-year ordeal of harassment, imprisonment, and beatings by the Chinese regime.

"He dared to publicly speak the truth about the abuse and violence that Chinese officials inflict on the women and families of his home province and, for that, he suffered greatly," she said.

The Congresswoman expressed deep concern about Chen`s relatives and fellow human rights advocates who remain in China and face retribution by a Beijing regime that denies the most fundamental freedoms to the Chinese people.

"Congress will remain vigilant on behalf of Mr Chen`s relatives and fellow activists. Their well-being must remain a priority for the United States. Responsible nations must not lose sight of our moral responsibility to support those who suffer under the chokehold of repressive rulers," she added.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, May 20, 2012 - 09:39

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