By Erik Crouch
Image credit: Boris Rasin
Fresh from his celebrity-studded jaunt to Disneyland, lawyer-turned-dissident Chen Guangcheng spoke some harsh words about the Chinese Communist Party while receiving a human rights award on Tuesday. Chen described China’s government as a “leadership of thieves,” and appealed to Washington DC policy makers to place human rights high on the American-Chinese agenda.
We need to bring to an end this period of history during which the Communist authority maintains a monopoly on power and enslaves the people […]
There should be no compromise, even if there are large business interests at stake — dignity, freedom and justice are more important […]
Today, I and my immediate family are free in body, but in mind we cannot be free because so many of my compatriots, including many family members, are still living under the evils of the authoritarian system. These are not isolated cases of injustice, but represent a reality in China today.
Chen’s statement was spoken in Mandarin, and simultaneously read out loud by Richard Gere (presumably acting as a stand-in for Christian Bale). Although Chen Guangcheng began his confrontation with the Chinese government over abortion-related issues and one child policy lawsuits, his critiques of China’s leadership have grown significantly since his arrival in the United States.
“It’s an inevitability of history, whether the party likes it or not,” Chen said, “Once the people are waking up, change is coming for sure.”
(Not to be a downer, but student dissident leader Chai Ling said pretty much the exact same thing… in 1990.)