Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng phoned in to a congressional hearing Thursday from a Beijing hospital and pleaded for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to help get him to America.
Chen said he wanted his “freedom of travel guaranteed,” because he wanted to “come to the United States for some time of rest,” according to friend and supporter Bob Fu, who served as translator for the call.
Chen, who helped expose abuses in China’s one-child policy in his home province of Shandong, escaped from house arrest on April 22 and made his way to the US embassy in Beijing, where he spent six days before leaving on Wednesday.
The activist, who had pressed for years for an end to forced abortions and sterilizations, left the embassy after Beijing supposedly pledged that he and his family would be treated “humanely” but has since repeatedly expressed fears for his safety.
“I really am fearing for my family members’ lives,” Chen said.
He also told Chen that Hollywood star Christian Bale had “called one hour earlier to convey his solidarity.”
The Oscar-winning British actor had made international headlines in December when he tried to visit the blind lawyer-dissident when he was under house arrest, but was prevented by security personnel.
Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and other US officials are currently in Beijing for scheduled bilateral talks, and Chen’s plight has dominated the relationship over the past week.
That’s really great! We get involved then throw him off to fend for himself. What is the likelihood that he’ll be a goner!