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Chen: China's Promises 'Just Empty Words'

Dissident recounts abuses he suffered under house arrest
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2012 12:46 PM CDT
Chen: China's Promises 'Just Empty Words'
US ambassador to China, Gary Locke, left, makes a phone call as he accompanies blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, right, in a car en route from the US Embassy to a hospital in Beijing, May 2, 2012.   (AP Photo/U.S. Embassy Beijing Press Office, HO)

(Newser) – Chen Guangcheng says he's being treated well enough at the hospital where he's recuperating, but that he doesn't trust the Chinese government to continue being so kind. In an interview with der Spiegel—which the paper says was plagued by a connection that cut out multiple times—Chen confirms that he only left the US embassy because Beijing threatened his family, and says some of the people who helped him escape "are still being tortured."

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"This clearly shows that all the talk about freedom is just empty words," Chen says. He says he was surprised that Hillary Clinton never visited him, and said her one conversation with him had been less than comforting. "All she said was that the Chinese government would guarantee my civil rights. But in China there are no guarantees for civil rights." He also detailed his horrific time under house arrest, saying state thugs broke into his house, beat him and his wife, stole everything they could, and disabled his TV. "They tried to make life as difficult as possible." (Read more Der Spiegel stories.)

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