“Hello, this is Chen Guangcheng,” came a matter-of-fact, almost cheerful voice.
I introduced myself in halting Chinese, using my Chinese name and the Chinese name for The Washington Post. I asked how Chen was, and where. I asked him to speak slowly, to make sure I could understand.
“Washington Post?” Chen repeated, his voice sounding generally happy. Chen said he was fine and was in the car headed to the hospital, Chaoyang Hospital. He repeated the name slowly, three times.
And that was it. Chen handed the phone back to the ambassador, who said they were stuck in traffic, but promised a full briefing later.
- what Last week, after months of house arrest, Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng went to the U.S. embassy in Beijing after escaping. He posted a dramatic video after the escape. However, this week, he ended up leaving the embassy as part of a deal between the United States and China.
- why While not confirmed, a friend of Chen’s, activist Zeng Jinyan, suggested on Twitter that the Chinese government threatened his family with harm. While Chen wanted to leave China over the while affair, if he did so, he would likely never see his family again, according to Zeng. source
The blind lawyer had help with his escape: The story of Chen Guangcheng, the self-taught Chinese lawyer who escaped 19 months of home imprisonment, could prove dangerous for the people who supported his escape, with American and Chinese activists concerned that the Chinese government will strike back. Chen is reportedly being held at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, though U.S. officials have not confirmed this. (A top U.S. official showed up Sunday, however, suggesting they had a crisis on hand.) Most at risk? Hu Jia, an AIDS activist who was put into police custody Saturday; Nanjing-based activist He Peirong, who was arrested Friday; and Guo Yushan, a scholar who hasn’t been heard from since Saturday. “At this point, I’m more worried about Hu, He and Guo than Chen Guangcheng,” said Human Rights Watch’s Nicholas Bequelin. source
- aloha “We really don’t want to wait any longer because we have been together for 33 years waiting for the opportunity and our rights and everything that goes with it,” said Donna Gedge. She and her wife Monica were one of four couples to receive civil unions in Hawaii as the new year rang in Sunday.
- not alone Now 11 states (plus D.C.) recognize same-sex civil unions or gay marriage. Hawaii and Delaware just joined the ranks of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa (as a good friend of ours reminded everyone last night), Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island. source