Chen Guangcheng landed with his wife and two small children in Newark, New Jersey on Saturday evening, marking the end of the forced-abortion opponent’s long fight for freedom from Chinese oppression.
In remarks at New York University, where a fellowship had been offered to Chen as a means of leaving China, the self-taught lawyer expressed his gratitude to the U.S. embassy, those of Switzerland, Canada, and France, which had expressed their support for Chen, thanking “especially friends in the media” and Internet, and “common citizens of the United States who have expressed their support.”
Chen was quick to remind the crowd that, although his immediate family is safe for now, the fates of his extended family and friends remains uncertain, especially that of his nephew Chen Kegui, who has been arrested for “intentional homicide” after defending his family from Chinese officials in a night raid on his home in Shandong Province.
“Acts of retribution in Shandong may not have been abated, and my rights to practice law have been curbed, and we hope to see in the future a thorough investigation into these events,” said Chen.
Chen, who was targeted for retribution by the Communist Party for defending Chinese women forcibly aborted under the one-child policy, said that he hoped others would join him in his fight for justice in his home country.
“We should link our arms to continue in the fight for the goodness in the world, and to fight against injustice. I hope everybody works with me to promote justice and fairness in China.”
Before arriving at NYU, Chen landed in Newark, New Jersey. There he was greeted by Rep. Chris Smith, the U.S. Congressman who advanced Chen’s cause on Capitol Hill long before the blind lawyer’s plight hit international headlines with his escape to the U.S. embassy late last month.
“After years of enduring physical and psychological torture, imprisonment, and hate, the man, Chen Guangcheng, who defended Chinese women from the crime of forced abortion is finally free,” Smith said in a statement Saturday.
Although he hailed Chen’s arrival with enthusiasm, Smith echoed Chen’s concerns about retribution to Chen’s extended family.
“Great human rights leaders are never separated from the noble causes they espoused. Think of Lech Walesa and Solidarity, Nelson Mandela and opposition to apartheid, Aung San Suu Chi and democracy in Burma. Chen’s cause is ending China’s One Child Policy and forced abortion,” said Smith.
“Not all the Chens are free and safe, however. The Chinese government must immediately end its deplorable retaliation against Chen’s family and friends who remain in China.”
Video of Chen’s arrival in New York: