Chen: ′I need time to recover′ | World| Breakings news and perspectives from around the globe | DW | 08.05.2012
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Chen: 'I need time to recover'

After fleeing house arrest in China and heading to the US embassy in Beijing, blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng awaits US travel from a hospital. He appeared cautiously optimistic in a DW interview.

DW.DE: Mr. Chen, you still find yourself in the hospital. How is your health?

Chen Guangcheng: I'm doing well, considering the circumstances. No major problems were found during medical tests. My stomach and intestines were checked. I was diagnosed with chronic intestinal inflammation. My bleeding was brought under control at the hospital. Three bones in my foot are broken. I now wear a cast, lie in bed, and cannot walk.

You have applied for a passport. Do you know when you will receive it?

I have already spoken with a representative of the central government. I said, I am lying in bed and cannot move. Please help me settle [my travel situation]. He answered, the central government has already made its standpoint known; it will fix everything; I can count on them. But he did not give me any date.

According to online reports, you are still under house arrest in the hospital. You are not permitted visits. Once your health has improved, do you plan to go back to the US embassy and await your passport there?

I do not think they will let me back in the embassy. They are not even letting US diplomats visit me in the hospital.

US Vice President Joe Biden has promised a speedy processing of your visa application through the US embassy. Human rights activist Bob Fu of the US organization China Aid says until you have safely made it to American soil, there will be great concern that unforeseeable events could happen. Are you worried?

I think anything can happen, including unforeseeable events. But on the whole, both countries should adhere to their arrangements. If something changes, I might have new problems–even bigger ones.

Do you know how your nephew Chen Kegui is doing? Are you worried for your family's safety?

I have heard he was taken into police custody. But I don't know what his situation is in detail. I am extremely worried about my family. My elder brother and his family have been seriously threatened. After my successful escape from house arrest, they were taken prisoner and shut off for a lengthy period of time. You can imagine how brazen the authorities were. They snuck into my brother's house at night and brutally beat him. He merely defended himself. The assailants claim they didn't break any law and that the only thing they violated was my brother, because he defended himself. What kind of logic is that?

I have also heard that they brutally injured my nephew. His lawyer can no longer move freely, either. Yesterday, I spoke about this with representatives of the central government. I told them the local authorities know no law and no boundaries. The people from the central government promised to pass my complaints on. But I don't know what that will accomplish.

You have said you wish to go to the US for a limited time to rest and study. Do you intend to return to China?

I haven't had a quiet weekend in seven years. The authorities have harassed me the entire time. I really need a certain amount of time to recover. The people from the central government have said the government promises to guarantee the freedom conferred on me by the constitution. I think my freedom to travel to and from China is secure. The international public will be able to keep an eye on whether the agreement between the US and China will be upheld.

Interview conducted by Yutong Su and translated by Christoph Ricking/srs
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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