On Thursday, May 10th, civil rights activist and dissident, Chen Guangcheng spoke by phone with the VOA Mandarin Service's daily news show to discuss his lack of access to news while under house arrest and reflected on the importance of hearing VOA report his story. “Listening [to VOA] obviously helped me. At the very least, I was able to understand the state of societal development. I felt that no matter how hard one might try, information cannot be blocked. It gave me comfort. It gave me confidence, knowing that many people were paying attention.”
The complete Mandarin interview can be viewed on the VOA Chinese website.
On May 11th, VOA spoke with Chen on the China branch’s TV talk show “Pro and Con”. VOA English reports on the story. Below is the complete translated transcript of the Mandarin interview on “Pro and Con.”
CX: Hello? Mr. Chen Guangcheng?
CX: Hello and welcome. Thank you for accepting this interview with VOA Pro & Con. Everyone is closely following you case. Are there any new developments in your plans to come to the US to study? Can you tell us about that?
CGC: I haven’t heard about any new developments. There hasn’t been any other feedback in the last several days.
CX: I know that when you accepted an interview with VOA yesterday, you noted that you have been isolated from friends and the outside world while you are currently in the hospital and it seems that you have moved from imprisonment in Dongshigu to house arrest in the hospital. Now have you communicated or expressed your views to officials regarding your current situation? What did they say?
CGC: Uh…We talked on Monday, but we haven’t talked in the last few days. When we spoke on Monday they still had a very clear stance. The central government said they are going to investigate thoroughly the illegal happenings in Shandong in the last couple of years. The important thing is that they will handle the case publically according to Chinese law- they expressed this very clearly. But they haven’t clearly said when this will begin.
CX: Now, since you entered the hospital on May 2nd, have you had contact with the outside world such as friends or relatives? Or has your communication continuously been limited? Can you tell us a bit about that?
CGC: I haven’t seen any friends to date, but we have been able to make calls over here.
CX: Have you been able to contact US officials?
CGC: Other than last Friday when the Embassy doctor and translator came by to see my medical test results, I haven’t had direct contact with them. It’s been through telephone.
CX: How are you getting information from the outside world? For example, have you perhaps heard VOA radio broadcasts or seen VOA TV programs? How are you getting outside information?
CGC: This is one way- what you just mentioned is one way. The other way is that people call and inform me.
CX: Alright. Finally we congratulate you and hope that you can soon come and study in the US. Are you looking forward to living in the US? Can you tell our audience a bit about that?
CGC: Hmm… at the moment…hmm.. what should I say… Am I looking forward to it? I’d just like to mainly rest for a while, then supplement my own knowledge. It’s already been more than seven years, I haven’t had a single weekend without tension. So really it’s these two things that I hope I can do.
CX: Mr. Chen Guangcheng, finally to complete our conversation with you, we’d like to ask what you would like to say to the Chinese government, to the Chinese people, and to those friends who are following your story every day.
CGC: To the Chinese government, I am very happy with the cool-headedness and restraint with which they’ve handled this case. I hope the Chinese government, especially the central government, can continue to take steps towards further emancipating their minds, deepen reforms, and better address social injustices. I think if they did this, they could gain the trust of the people. So I would like to express my extreme gratitude to friends inside and outside of China who followed my case, especially the netizens, those who came to my village last year to visit me, and those who were beaten while trying to visit me. Truly, I am extremely grateful. I’m deeply moved… how should I express this? ... It was truly moving.
CX: Mr. Chen Guangcheng, thank you for accepting this interview with VOA’s Pro & Con. Thank you!
CGC: You’re welcome.