Daily Telegraph, London, on April 9, 2013, reported that China’s new leadership will not bring greater freedom to the Chinese people, but will continue on a path of repression set by previous generations of Communist “Emperors”, the leading Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng has warned. Excerpts below:

The self-taught, blind lawyer, who caused a diplomatic storm last year when he escaped from house arrest and took refuge in the US embassy in Beijing, said that it would be the people, not China’s recently installed president Xi Jinping, who would bring change to China.

“In reality, the new regime is just a continuation of the old regime,” he said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph in Washington DC before testifying to Congress about how China had broken promises to the US to investigate the six-year persecution of him and his family.

His own case provided a dramatic demonstration of growing force of people-power in China, after activists linked through the internet turned ‘blind Chen’ into a cause célèbre that highlighted the arbitrary and unchecked powers of the Chinese state that increasingly rankle the ordinary public.

The installation of Mr Xi – who has cut a more relaxed public figure than his predecessor Hu Jintao in his first outings as leader – has raised some hopes that he might be more reform-minded. That, said Mr Chen, was “wishful thinking”.

Mr Chen’s forthright criticism of the Chinese government comes almost a year after he was allowed to travel to New York in a compromise deal aimed at resolving the international diplomatic stand-off that threatened to sour already difficult relations between the US and Chinese governments.

His decision to go public with criticisms, including demanding the release of diplomatic documents about the US-China deal and a meeting with Barack Obama, puts pressure on the White House to defend their handling of his case and record on human rights.

…Mr Chen was due to tell the Congressional house committee on Foreign Affairs that no investigation has taken place of his case and his family members, including a nephew and elder brother, had both been beaten and tortured by local police and Communist Party officials.

Over the past year, Mr Chen has been living in New York with his wife and two children, learning English and writing a book which he said would show how “the Chinese regime had challenged the moral bottom of human beings”.

Mr Chen said that he, along with the wife of another prominent Chinese legal dissident, Gao Zhisheng, had also requested a meeting with President Obama, in order to tell their stories and explain how the Chinese state persecuted both dissidents and their extended family members.

The Telegraph understands that the White House has declined the request…

Asked what he would say to Mr Obama, if he ever got the chance, Mr Chen said that ignoring China’s record on human rights was undermining America’s standing in the world.


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