China Criticizes US Role in Dissident Case

Posted May 7th, 2012 at 6:05 pm (UTC-5)
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China said Monday the United States should “take necessary measures” to prevent a repeat of events like the case involving blind dissident Chen Guangcheng who escaped from house arrest in Shandong two weeks ago and ended up at the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

During a briefing in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei repeated China's displeasure with Washington. He accused the United States of “interfering into China's internal affairs” and urged it to draw a lesson from the incident and take what he called “concrete actions to maintain the overall interests of U.S.-China relations.” But Hong did not reiterate Beijing's calls for Washington to apologize.

Chen said Monday he does not expect any trouble from Beijing when he applies for permission to travel to the United States with his family.

Chen spoke from a Beijing hospital where he is being treated for injuries sustained during the escape that U.S. officials described as “extraordinary.” The report quoted him as saying he is “feeling much better.”

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday the blind dissident's future is in the United States, and that Washington expects China to honor its commitment to allow Chen to take up a fellowship offer at New York University.

China's Foreign Ministry on Friday said that Chen can apply to leave the country to study, “just like any other Chinese citizen.”

Chen originally agreed to a deal reached by U.S. and Chinese authorities that would allow him to stay in a “safe” place in China and study law. But he changed his mind hours after leaving U.S. protection, saying his family had been threatened.

Chen is a self-taught legal activist who has been blind since childhood. He was given a four-year prison sentence in 2006 for exposing abuses under China's forced abortion policy aimed at population control. He had been under house arrest since 2010, before fleeing on April 22 to the U.S. embassy.