NEW YORK (AP) — A blind Chinese activist who arrived in New York over the weekend is “seriously troubled” about three people now at the mercy of Chinese authorities for helping him, his mentor said Monday.
“This is what’s very much on Chen’s mind: his inability to provide protection to people who were key in protecting him,” New York University law professor Jerome Cohen, a mentor to Chen Guangcheng, told The Associated Press.
After Chen fled his village last month, his nephew was arrested and charged with intent to commit homicide — for stabbing and wounding attackers beating up the young man’s parents, Cohen said.
Chen is asking Chinese authorities to release the nephew, Chen Kegui, who Cohen said is not allowed to speak to anyone while in police custody.
Lawyers from Beijing and elsewhere in China “have all tried to go to this boy’s defense and they’ve all been stopped,” Cohen said.
Kegui had “attempted to defend himself against thugs who invaded his house and beat up his parents,” Cohen said, adding that the action was in retaliation for Chen’s departure “without warning or permission.”
“This is standard stuff in his village,” Cohen said. “This is what Chen was protesting.”
Cohen told the AP the dissident is also very concerned about what will happen to two others who helped him — a woman who drove his getaway van and a legal scholar who cared for Chen and who Cohen says is now under house arrest.
“I’ve known Chen a long time and I can see he’s seriously troubled,” Cohen said.
The woman, He Peirong, had never met Chen when she secretly drove to his village, picked him up in a van “and delivered him to Mr. Guo.”
Guo Yushan, a Chinese academic, helped Chen when he got to Beijing. When Chen changed his mind about staying in China, Guo helped him put out a statement “that clarified what his thoughts were,” Cohen said.
Guo was picked up by police, detained and interrogated, but was released.
“But now that Chen is away, they’re going back and putting Guo under severe house arrest — home imprisonment,” Cohen said.
He said U.S. authorities are aware of Chen’s concern for people in his inner circle in China, and “we hope these cases can be solved in a fair and open manner.”
He added that he and Chen hoped the U.S. government will be “able to do something.”
The dissident and the New York law professor have been in touch for years, since they met when Chen came to the United States on a State Department program in 2003.
Cohen advised Chen while he was in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, where he was given sanctuary after his daring escape following seven years of prison and house arrest.
That triggered a diplomatic standoff over his fate. With Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Beijing for annual high-level discussions, officials struck a deal that let Chen walk free, only to see him have second thoughts. That forced new negotiations that led to an agreement to send him to the U.S. to study law at New York University.
Since his arrival from China on Saturday, Chen has stayed in his new Manhattan home with his wife and children.
As a fellow at New York University’s law school, he was given “a very nice apartment” that is part of faculty housing, Cohen said.
Chen is getting medical treatment for his foot, having suffered three broken bones while fleeing from his village.
He has difficulty walking and is “a little jet-lagged,” but is otherwise in “a good mood,” Cohen said.
More Related Stories
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- UK Military: London attack victim was a "model soldier"
- Billionaire hedge funder: Babies, breast-feeding "kill" focus, keep women from succeeding
- "Bookless library" set to open in Texas
- 2 more arrested in London attacks
- Glenn Beck: CNN interview with atheist tornado survivor was a setup!
- Incoming BBC news director on journalism gender gap: "We can do better"
- Illegal construction, shoddy materials at fault in Bangladesh factory disaster
- Ahead of Obama's speech, U.S. acknowledges four American drone killings
- Must-see morning clip: Bill O'Reilly visits "The Daily Show"
- Lawsuit alleges anti-gay hiring practices at ExxonMobil
- Boy Scouts poised to vote, still greatly divided on gay youth
- House supporters of KXL received $56m from fossil fuel industry
- 80-year-old becomes oldest to climb Mount Everest
- Before FBI shooting man implicated self, Tsarnaev in triple murder
- Paul McCartney backs Pussy Riot
- UK emergency committee convenes after attack
- Brave scout leader tried to reason with London attackers
- If Alex Pareene were a cable news executive...
- El Salvador court delays ruling on abortion case while woman's life hangs in the balance
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11