Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese dissident and human rights activist, condemned China’s human rights record during the third night of the Republican National Convention on Wednesday. Chen, who is blind, read from a speech typed in braille.
Chen recounted his experience of imprisonment and escape from China, under the control of the Chinese Communist Party. “When I spoke out against China’s one-child policy, and other injustices, I was prosecuted, beaten, sent to prison and put under house arrest by the Chinese Communist Party, the CCP. In April 2012, I escaped and was given shelter in the American Embassy in Beijing.”
Chen was able to stay in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and, CNN reported, after a month of negotiations, was permitted to leave China and come to the U.S. under President Barack Obama’s administration.
Chen said he is “forever grateful to the American people for welcoming me and my family to the United States where we are now free.”
“The CCP is an enemy of humanity,” he said. “It is terrorizing its own people and it is threatening the well-being of the world. In China, expressing beliefs or ideas not approved by the CCP, religion, democracy, human rights, can lead to prison. The nation lies under mass surveillance and censorship.
China has been accused of a range of human rights abuses in recent years, including the mass internment of the ethnic minority Uyghurs, as well as implementing new national security laws over Hong Kong that broadly defines acts of dissent, including shouting Hong Kong independence slogans, as criminal acts of “sedition,” “subversion,” and “succession.”
“The U.S. must use its values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, to gather a coalition of other democracies to stop China’s aggression.”
Though he was able to leave China following negotiations by the Obama administration, Chen has spoken in support President Donald Trump and opposition to Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is challenging Trump for the presidency. In prepared remarks sent out prior to his speech, Chen said, “The policy of appeasement of former administrations, including Obama and Biden, has allowed the CCP to infiltrate and corrode different aspects of the global community.”
Though Chen did not share his criticisms of Obama and Biden during his Wednesday night RNC speech, he did credit Trump for the Republican president’s various actions against China.
“President Trump has led on this and we need the other countries to join him in this fight, a fight for our future,” he said Wednesday night. “Standing up to fight unfairness isn’t easy, I know, so does President Trump, but he has shown the courage to wage that fight. We need to support, vote and fight for President Trump for the sake of the world.”