Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng visits Taiwan


A Chinese activist who fled to the United States after taking refuge in the US embassy in China last year said on Monday that Beijing’s relentless efforts to crush opposition forces and suppress human rights would backfire.

Speaking in Taiwan, Chen Guangcheng said he was convinced that rapidly growing yearnings for freedom and human rights among the Chinese would eventually “put an end to the authoritarian rule” in the communist country.

Chen spoke at a news conference in Taiwan, where he is making a two-week visit.

But Chen evaded questions about his criticism last week of New York University, where he spent the last year as a special student after leaving China.

He said the university caved in to pressure from China’s Communist Party when it asked him to leave.

The university denied that, saying it had agreed to give Chen a one-year fellowship to assist his departure from China, and that he was leaving because the year was over.

He said he may have hit a “sore spot” with his comments, but he did not give any details.

He also declined to comment on reports that one of his supporters in the United States gave him an iPhone and iPad installed with software to track his activities.

“I am not a computer expert,” he said.

On Monday, Chen accused Beijing of spending billions of dollars annually to monitor dissidents and activists and put them in jail if they refused to stop their advocacies.

Chen, a self-taught lawyer who has been blind since birth, had angered local Chinese officials by documenting complaints about forced abortions.

He escaped house arrest in his rural town in eastern China’s Shandong province in April 2012.

He then sparked a diplomatic crisis between China and the United States when he fled to the US Embassy in Beijing.

Chinese officials later let him move to the US with his wife and children.

Chen has previously criticised China’s human rights record, and spoke about it before a US congressional committee.

The activist said he regretted that Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has declined to meet him, but said Taiwan’s democracy is exerting pressure on its neighbour and political rival.

“Now is a crucial moment for the entire mainland and Asia to move on to practise democracy,” he said, adding China’s eventual democratisation could “spell the end of dictatorship for the entire humankind.”

Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949.

Ma wants to improve relations with Beijing, but he could not reject Chen’s visit to risk undermining his standing in the democratic island.
(Copyright 2013 APTN. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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