Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chen Guangcheng: ‘I Am Very Disappointed At the U.S. Government’

Excerpt of CNN's phone interview with Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng and his wife Yuan Weijing from his Beijing hospital room, Thursday, May 3, shortly after Chen left the U.S. embassy.
Q: U.S. officials said you looked optimistic when you walked out of the embassy, what happened?

A: At the time I didn’t have a lot of information. I wasn’t allowed to call my friends from inside the embassy. I couldn’t keep up with news so I didn’t know a lot of things that were happening.

Q: What prompted your change of heart?

A: The embassy kept lobbying me to leave and promised to have people stay with me in the hospital. But this afternoon as soon as I checked into the hospital room, I noticed they were all gone.

Q: Has the U.S. disappointed you?

A: I’m very disappointed at the U.S. government.

Q: Why?

A: I don’t think (U.S. officials) protected human rights in this case.

Q: Is it true no one from the embassy picked up your calls?

A: Yes. I called two embassy people numerous times.

Q: What do you want to say to the U.S. government?

A: : I want them to protect human rights through concrete actions. We are in danger.

Q: As soon as possible?

A: Yes, as soon as possible.

Q: Do you feel you were lied to by the embassy?

A: I feel a little like that.
CBS notes that "Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are in China now for a previously scheduled meeting with Chinese officials on economic and security issues.

"Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney accused the Obama administration of putting economic concerns above Chen's freedom and called it a 'day of shame for the Obama administration,' if accusations that Chen was shooed out of the embassy ahead of those talks are true."
Q: What has this ordeal taught you?

A: I feel everyone focuses too much on their self-interest at the expense of their credibility.

Q: You're both still up at 3 a.m. -- feeling anxious?

A: Yes, we feel a lot of anxiety.... I told the embassy I would like to talk to Rep. Smith (Republican Congressman Chris Smith) but they somehow never managed to arrange it. I feel a little puzzled.

Nevertheless, Rep.Smith managed to speak by phone with Chen Guangcheng during an emergency Congressional-Executive Commission hearing on Thursday. The phone call was set up, unexpectedly, by Pastor Bob Fu, Founder and President of the ChinaAid Association.
CNN then interviewed Yuan Weijing, Chen Guangcheng's wife:

Q: Are there people watching you at the hospital?

A: They have security guards here.

Q: Have the embassy people left?

A: Yes. They promised to stay here with Guangcheng -- that would give us some sense of security. But we haven't seen anyone since we checked into this hospital room. .. I didn't know the embassy (people) were lobbying him to leave (the embassy)...
She "didn't know the embassy people were lobbying him to leave the embassy."