Today, both the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United States government press release said that Chen Guangcheng can apply passport/visa to study in the United States. This is good news, despite the dramatic changes setting down so many people in the past few days. However, while reading the news on the Internet, it seems to me that there are a few issues that the media is a bit misleading or missed.
First of all, is Chen Guangcheng a dissident? Sure, it depends on how we define dissident. If a dissident is one who points out the wrong-doings of the government, he is. Or if a dissident is one who never gives up fighting for justice, he is too. However, for me, Chen is more a self-studied lawyer, a courageous person who cannot bear any injustice in this society, but not really a dissident. He is not really vocal in calling for political reform or democratization. However, he is a person who always thinks that the law on paper shall be enforced and law shall be used to protect everyone’s rights and interests. Even yesterday, on the hearing of the American Congress Executive Commission for China, Bob Fu got through Chen Guangcheng on the phone. Chen said clearly to the hearing that
I am a free man, shall enjoy the rights under the Chinese Constitution. I have the right of freedom of travel. I want to travel to the US to have a rest, I have not had any real weekends in the past seven years.
Second, does Chen oppose the One-child policy? Probably not. Or at least, it is not appropriate to say that he opposes the One-child policy; what he strongly opposes and fights against is any injustice and brutality during the implementation of the one-child policy.
Third, did Chen really say that he wanted to kiss or see State Secretary Hilary Clinton? One tweet said that Ambassador Lock said Chen did tell him he wanted to kiss Hilary, but later Chen felt a bit embarrassed and changed. Is it because he said it to the American Ambassador using “kiss” before he called Hilary, and then he said “see” when he made the phone call? Or is it just because of his broken English, causing the misunderstanding? Maybe this does not matter at all. Probably it is because Chen is such a Chinese man who does not really want to kiss any ladies other than his wife. And he is such a pure man that if he feels he cannot do it, then he might probably even does not want to say it.
Fourth, why Guangcheng changed his origianl idea of staying in China after he stepped out of the U.S. Embassy to the hospital? It shall not be difficult to understand. Guangcheng has been isolated from the outside world for seven years except the very recent days, how could he know the severe repression upon other human rights defenders in China? Moreover, was Chen Guangcheng’s wife Yuan Weijing under coercion when she was making the phone call with Guangcheng, thus she did not dare to say every horribile thing happened in Dongshigu after Guangcheng’s escape? Or she did not have time to say too much on the phone? Neither the Embassy side nor Guangcheng is lying, this is why everyone was beaming with smile out of the Embassy to the hospital. Professor Cohen of New York Law School who has been vocal in calling international concern for Guangcheng said, “Chen took a call from his wife before leaving the embassy, … wherein his wife expressed her support for the idea of staying in China but did not mention the harassment and abuse she had been subjected to since Chen’s escape.” Clearly, the problem is there is a lack of communications due to many reasons.
On twitter, while many are happy with the result, though surely not as happy and excited at the first time when hearing Chen escaped and stayed in a safe place a couple of days ago, they do not stop asking: When his wider family relatives be released, especially his nephew Chen Kegui? When those committed violence will be punished according to the law?
When the never-ending story of repression end? Today, Jiang Tianyong, a lawyer went to the hospital where Chen stays and was beaten. Now it is suspected that his eardrum was broken, but he was under security guarding at home and not allowed to see a doctor. Liu Yanping, who went to send a cake to Chen’s son whose birthday is today, was detained for nine hours by police. And many other visitors were treated similarly.A few foreign journalists who reported on Chen’s case were summoned to the local police as well and were told that visas might be revoked if they breach regulations again. … Is China making the hospital where Chen stays now a new Dongshigu village?
Last but not least, when Chen and his family will get their passports? Probably many will only feel relieved when he gets the passport and departs to the US together with his family.