Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng calls U.S. Congress hearing
Thursday, May 03, 2012 - 03:44
May 4 - Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng calls a U.S. congressional hearing to plea for further help. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT NO REPORTER NARRATION
Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng made a dramatic plea for help in a cellphone call on Thursday (May 3) to a U.S. congressional hearing from his hospital bed in Beijing, raising the pressure on U.S. President Barack Obama over his administration's handling of the case.
Chen, a self-taught legal activist, was sheltered in the U.S. Embassy for six days until Wednesday. He left the embassy shortly before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary of Clinton arrived in Beijing for talks aimed at improving economic and strategic relations between the two superpowers.
But within hours, Chen changed his mind about a deal that U.S. officials had said would allow him to relocate with his family and pursue his studies at a university.
Thursday's U.S. congressional hearing on Chen's case took a dramatic turn when a witness called the dissident on his cellphone and relayed his appeal for help to members of Congress and the media.
Chen said he wanted to come the United States and that he had not rested in 10 years, according to a translation by Bob Fu, the president of Texas-based religious and human rights group ChinaAid. Fu held his cellphone to the microphone so that Chen could be heard, and translated his words.
Speaking from a Beijing hospital where he was reunited with his wife on Wednesday and where he was being treated for a foot injury, Chen said he wanted to meet Clinton to ask her for help and to thank her.
He said friends and neighbours who had helped him escape his house arrest were "receiving retribution" and he was most concerned about the safety of his mother and brothers, according to Fu's translation.
Chen said he was really scared for the lives of his family members and said authorities had installed seven video cameras in his house.
A pack of camera crews and reporters have been waiting outside Chen's hospital in Beijing, kept away from the entrance by police. Radio Free Asia quoted Chen as saying he had received no visits from friends and his phone service was unreliable.
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