Blind Chinese Activist Chen Guangcheng Tells Xi Jinping: 'Follow Thein Sein's Example'
By Gianluca Mezzofiore | December 3, 2012 10:41 PM EST
Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has appealed to the new leader of China's Communist Party Xi Jinping to carry out human rights reform, citing the example of Burmese leader Thein Sein as one to emulate.
Chen, who escaped house arrest and fled to the US earlier this year, said his country's new leader faces the challenge of whether to follow the will of the people or "hijack the government and protect the privileged" towards a "violent transition".
He cited examples of political changes happening in Burma, where the president has embarked on a raft of political and social reforms.
"If Thein Sein can do it, yet Xi Jinping doesn't, obviously it's not that Xi couldn't do it, but simply that he wouldn't. And that will speak volumes to who he is as a person and as a leader," Chen said.
'The government has enacted revenge'
The footage came after a Chinese court condemned Chen's nephew to three years in prison for assaulting officials, in an incident which was rooted in his own imprisonment six years ago.
In August 2006 Chen was sentenced to four years and three months in prison for exposing the violent measures used to enforce China's one-child policy, including forced abortions and involuntary sterilisations.
In September 2010, following his release from prison, Chen was kept under house arrest along with his wife Yuan Weijing and their six-year-old daughter. However he escaped house arrest and took refuge at the US embassy in Beijing in April 2012.
His presence at the embassy caused a diplomatic row which was only resolved when he was allowed to travel to the US for studies. However, after he fled, his relatives' homes were raided and his nephew, Chen Kegui, was detained by police after a scuffle.
"Because I fled the country, the government officials have enacted revenge on my nephew Chen Kegui and others," Chen says in the video. "Chen Kegui tried to defend our family, but he was arrested and is still in jail today."
"Can the international community continue to turn a blind eye to the intractable forces of the ruling Chinese Communist Party protecting its autocratic rule and unhesitatingly inflicting on the people all sorts of violence?" he asked in the video. "How is it that the leaders of democratic countries remain indifferent in the face of the flow of the blood and tears of the victims, of each and every Tibetan who has died through self-immolation? Citizens of the world with a conscience ought to respond by speaking out for justice."
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