Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) has urged Communist Party chief and Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平) to follow Myanmar’s model of reform or risk a violent political transition.
Chen also accused the government of breaking a promise to investigate what he says is the persecution of his family, according to a recorded message posted on YouTube.
The legal advocate’s escape from house arrest in April and subsequent refuge in the US embassy in Beijing was deeply embarrassing for China and it led to a diplomatic tussle. Chen was allowed to leave China and is studying in New York.
Chen said in the message that if Burmese President Thein Sein was able to release people such as Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, then Xi should be able to release Chinese prisoners of conscience.
“Thein Sein’s open mind won him support from Myanmar’s people and recognition from the world. Even Thein Sein can do it, yet Xi Jinping doesn’t. Obviously it’s not that Xi couldn’t do it, but simply that he won’t,” Chen said.
Chen’s nephew, Chen Kegui (陳克貴), was given a three year, three month jail term last week after being charged with using knives to fend off officials who burst into his home on April 27.
“Because I fled the country, government officials have enacted revenge on my nephew, Chen Kegui, and others. Chen Kegui tried to defend our family, but he was arrested and is still in jail today,” Chen Guangcheng said.
Addressing Xi, he said: “Whether you will follow the call of heaven and the people to carry out reform, or kidnap the government and maintain the power of the Communist Party is a matter of whether China will have the transition in a peaceful way or a violent way.”