May 24 - Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng urges China to prosecute those who abused him and his family. Deborah Gembara reports.
In one of his first interviews since arriving in the U.S., blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng says China must hold accountable the officials who harassed and abused him and his supporters. For Chen, it will be a true test of his country's respect for its laws. SOUNDBITE: Chen Guangcheng, Chinese activist saying (Mandarin): "I raised it very clearly at the time. The harm that has been done to me and family in Shandong over these years, no matter how senior the official that is in involved, even if it is someone within the central party system, they must be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted. No matter how many people are involved, as long as they violated Chinese law, they must take responsibility for it. That is the demand I made to the official that the central government sent to see me, and he made this promise. Now we are demanding that they keep that promise." Chen also spoke to the situation his relatives are facing back at home. His nephew has been detained by authorities and is being charged with attempted murder. Just days ago Chen's brother managed to escape his own house arrest in a bid to find a lawyer to represent his son. Chen explains... SOUNDBITEChen Guangcheng, Chinese activist saying (Mandarin): "Now my older brother escapes house arrest and comes to Beijing in search of a lawyer for my nephew. This is an extremely normal thing, and the most basic right of a Chinese citizen. If even this right cannot be ensured then I think development in the construction of China's legal system over the past few decades has already been undone by law-breaking officials within the political system." Washington says it is closely monitoring the situation with his family in China. Chen, who arrived in the U.S. over the weekend, has spent the past few days gearing up for his studies as a fellow at New York University. But questions loom about how long he will remain. SOUNDBITEChen Guangcheng, Chinese activist saying (Mandarin): "Now I am learning English and I'm making some preparations. Perhaps my course and research should start before too long. I will decide on my time here according, now there is still no clear time. I have been here for such a short time - do you want me leave already?" Chen went on to add. SOUNDBITE: Chen Guangcheng, Chinese activist saying (Mandarin): "I feel optimistic. I have felt the kindness of the people around me. I have totally confidence in the future. No matter what happens, I feel very good about the future." He is also insistent that he is not in exile and that one day he hopes to return to his homeland. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.