— Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng was to spend his first full day in the United States Sunday after praising Beijing’s “restraint and calm” as he sought to draw a line under a month-long tussle that tested China-US ties.
Chen asked to say a “few simple words” as he, his wife Yuan Weijing, and their two young children were greeted with cheers on arrival at the New York University apartment block in Manhattan Saturday that now becomes their home.
He expressed gratitude to the American embassy for ushering him to a new, free life in the United States but added: “I am gratified the Chinese government dealt with the situation with restraint and calm.”
Speaking through an interpreter, Chen said he believed the Chinese government’s promises were “sincere,” although friends of the dissident said he was clearly very worried about the fate of relatives left behind.
However, Chen renewed his call to fight injustice.
“I believe that no matter how difficult the environment nothing is impossible if you put your heart to it,” he said. “We should link our arms to continue in the fight for the goodness in the world and to fight against injustice. So, I think that all people should apply themselves to this end to work for the common good worldwide.”
One of China’s best-known activists, Chen, a self-taught lawyer, won plaudits for investigating forced sterilizations and late-term abortions under China’s “one-child” family planning policy.
He and his family touched down at Newark-Liberty International Airport, outside New York, on a United Airlines flight from Beijing shortly before 2230 GMT, capping an astonishing odyssey.
Chen made a dramatic escape from his village in April after seven years spent mostly in prison or under house arrest, eventually securing sanctuary at the US embassy in Beijing. — AFP