Mon, Jun 24, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Chinese dissident to start Taiwan visit

ATTRACTING ATTENTION:Chen Guangcheng is scheduled to unveil his new book in Taipei on Thursday, according to the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights

Staff writer, with AP and CNA

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠), who fled house arrest in China and later moved to the US, was expected to arrive in Taiwan late last night, where he will give several speeches expected to attract the attention of Beijing.

The 18-day trip is part of Chen’s efforts to enhance freedoms and human rights for his fellow Chinese, his organizer, the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights, said in a statement.

Police said yesterday that extra precautions would be taken to ensure the safety of the blind activist.

Police will help implement the necessary security measures during Chen’s stay in Taipei, after the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights said it received threats that pro-China groups were planning to hold protests and even attack him.

Similar security measures will be in place when Chen visits Greater Taichung and Greater Kaohsiung during his trip, officials added.

Some of these pro-China groups have been seen driving around in campaign trucks to promote their ideas around the location where Chen is scheduled to meet with international reporters in Taipei today, police said.

The Chinese activist is also scheduled to unveil his new book, titled China, the Book of Living and Dying, at a press event in Taipei on Thursday, the organizers said.

Chen, 41, sparked a diplomatic crisis between China and the US last year when he fled house arrest to the US embassy in Beijing.

Since then, he has been a special student at New York University’s US-Asia Law Institute while working on his book.

Chen’s visit presents a challenge to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who has built his administration around better relations with China.

The Presidential Office said Ma has not scheduled a meeting with Chen.

Chen will give a news conference, address the legislature, meet Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and speak at universities, organizers said.

Chen escaped house arrest in his rural town in Shandong Province in April last year. Chinese officials later let him move to the US with his wife and children in an arrangement negotiated with the US.

He had angered local Chinese officials by documenting complaints about forced abortions.

A self-taught lawyer, Chen has criticized China’s human rights records, speaking about it before a US congressional committee.

Chen sparked controversy earlier this month, when he accused New York University of bowing to pressure from the Chinese government and forcing him to leave.

The university denied that, and said it had offered him a one-year fellowship to help him escape China, which was concluding at the end of the academic year as planned.

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