Texas pastor drives support for blind Chinese dissident Chen
Only a few hours after blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng left his sanctuary in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the United States’ declared it had won concessions over his future from the Chinese government, a soft-spoken 44-year-old West Texas pastor was questioning the official version of events.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Chen, who had escaped house arrest in a village in Shandong province before making his way to the Chinese capital last week, had “a number of understandings with the Chinese government about his future, including the opportunity to pursue higher education in a safe environment” inside China. Chinese state media said he had left the embassy “of his own volition.”
Pastor Bob Fu, though, issued a statement quickly challenging the official story. It said “relevant reports show unfortunately the US side ‘has abandoned Mr Chen,’” and that he had reluctantly left the embassy because of threats to his family by the Chinese government.
Soon, Chen was confirming Fu’s concerns in a number of interviews with Western media organizations. Chen told Reuters in a phone interview from a Beijing hospital that he wants to leave for the United States rather than stay in China because his safety cannot be assured under the deal.
For Fu, who said he knew about the deal 15 hours in advance, it wasn’t the first time in the past week that he has been one of the few sources of information on what has been happening to Chen, whose case has threatened to badly damage relations between the United States and China.