Sat, Mar 16, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Chinese activist Chen plans Taiwan visit in June

AFP, TAIPEI

Chinese lawyer and activist Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) hopes to visit Taiwan in June, a rights group said yesterday.

Chen and his family are to arrive in Taipei on June 23 for a 20-day visit, according to the Taipei-based Taiwan Association for Human Rights, which has organized the trip.

“Chen will meet with people from the Taipei Bar Association and advocates who have dedicated themselves to the nation’s judicial reforms,” said Yang Hsien-hung (楊憲宏), the head of the rights group.

The 41-year-old has been living in New York since May last year after a dramatic escape from house arrest to the US embassy in Beijing.

The Presidential Office yesterday said it has not formed an official position on the planned visit, but the Mainland Affairs Council reacted positively to the proposal.

“We welcome any visit to Taiwan by people from China as long as they can apply for entry with the authorities according to the regulations. We believe such visits will help facilitate understanding between the two sides,” the council said in a statement.

Chen has no plans to meet political figures during the trip, Yang said.

“He is interested in how Taiwan has revised its laws in the process of democratization and he feels the experience of Taiwan may be used as a key reference to push for China’s reform once he is allowed to return to Beijing,” he said.

Chen will be accompanied by Jerome Cohen, a professor from New York University’s School of Law who is a good friend of the activist, Yang said.

Sentenced to more than four years in prison in 2006 after exposing abuses in China’s one-child policy, Chen was subsequently placed under house arrest upon his release in September 2010.

After his escape to the US embassy, high-level negotiations between US and Chinese officials hashed out an arrangement allowing Chen to move to the US.

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