By NVONews.Com Political Correspondent,
Even as blind human rights activist, Chen Guangcheng, appears to be in a dilemma, China said on Friday that he can apply to study abroad. The Chinese concession is being considered as a possible step towards resolving a diplomatic deadlock with the United States.
Chen now says he feels isolated and his life is in danger at a Beijing hospital. He fled a house arrest in his rural township, Shandong, and sought refuge at the US Embassy last week. He emerged under an agreement with Chinese authorities to guarantee his safety in another town.
But once out and escorted to a hospital for treatment, he had an apparent change of heart and appealed for US help to leave the country altogether. All this happened when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was still in Beijing for high-level talks with Chinese officials.
Chen, a self-taught 40-year old lawyer, now appears to be in a fix: whether to stay in China or to move to the United States? This has been the predicament of not only Chen but for many other activists of the country, who had either left or are still living in China.
Publisher Wang Xiaoshan, Writer Yu Jie, who fled overseas in January last, novelist Liao Yiwu, who fled across the border, female activist, Zeng Jinyan, NGO activist, Wan Yanhai, who left China in 2010, etc all felt the same situation. While some fled their country, others decided to stay back in China.
Some of the activists call on Chen to stay and fight within, while others have a different opinion.
Chen’s mental state can be measured from what he had been saying in the last couple of days. On Wednesday morning, while he was with the US ambassador he told his lawyer he was happy. But several hours later––after he was left with Chinese officials and doctors––he told reporters he was worried about his safety and now wanted to go to the US with his family. Most recently, he has said he would like to temporarily study in the US.
This worries diplomats who thought they had secured a deal for him to leave the embassy but remain in China with an assurance from the central government for his well being.
Chen, an international human rights figure and inspiration to many ordinary Chinese, exposed forced abortions and sterilizations carried out in China as part of country’s one-child policy.
Until his escape last week, he spent almost seven years in prison and house arrest with his wife, six-year-old daughter and mother.
After leaving the US embassy compound, Chen reportedly changed his mind, partly because of his wife’s tales of abuse and retribution in the days after he managed to escape from his rural farmhouse. Chen also said he felt abandoned by the US, finding no embassy staff at the hospital to assure his protection.