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Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng to publish memoir

July 17, 2012|By Carolyn Kellogg
  • Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng with his wife, Yuan Weijing, and family upon arriving in the United States.
Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng with his wife, Yuan Weijing, and… (Carolyn Cole )

Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng will publish a memoir in 2013 with Henry Holt & Co., the Associated Press reported Tuesday. In April, Chen made a dramatic escape from house arrest by scaling a wall and making his way from rural Dongshigu to Beijing, 75 miles away.

The incident immediately drew international attention. Chen, 40, had sought refuge at the American Embassy in Beijing. At one point, Chen appeared ready to stay in China, apparently over concerns for the safety of his family and friends. Whether Chen might stay in China or depart for America was the subject of international concern and diplomatic maneuvering for several weeks.

In May, Chen and his family flew to the U.S. He is now a special student at U.S.-Asia Law Institute at the New York University School of Law.

Chen was a self-taught lawyer in China, where he advocated reforms. He was an outspoken opponent of the state's treatment of women and its one-child policy. He had drawn attention from officials in Shandong after exposing forced abortions and sterilizations. Charged with disrupting order, he had served 19 months of house arrest before his escape. Strongmen prevented visitors from seeing him during his detention. His name was prevented from appearing on websites in China.

His departure from China has been seen by some as a continuing point of tension for U.S.-China relations.

"I am very gratified to see that the Chinese government has been dealing with the situation with restraint and calm, and I hope to see that they continue to open discourse and earn the respect and trust of the people," Chen said through an interpreter upon his arrival in New York. "We should link our arms to continue in the fight for the goodness in the world and to fight against injustice."


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