Chinese Dissident Chen Guangcheng to Speak at Council on Foreign Relations

By DNAinfo Staff on May 29, 2012 2:48pm

Escaped Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng spoke before a crowd of supporters May 19, 2012, after moving into NYU housing in Greenwich Village.
Escaped Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng spoke before a crowd of supporters May 19, 2012, after moving into NYU housing in Greenwich Village.
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Andy Jacobsohn/Getty Images

By Jesse Lent

Special to DNAinfo

The Chinese dissident who stirred up tensions between the U.S. and China after seeking asylum in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, will speak this Thursday at the Council on Foreign Relations, a foreign policy think tank.

The event, entitled "What’s Next for Chen Guangcheng?" is the first time Chen has publicly discussed his ordeal — which included escaping from house arrest — in detail.  The talk, which begins at 10 a.m., is open to members of the CFR and the press.

In one of his first interviews since arriving in the U.S., Chen told Reuters on May 24, that he feared for his family, still back in China.

"If local officials continue to act wildly as they wish, perhaps in the near future my family's situation will not be good," Chen said.

The prediction appears to have come true. The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Chinese security forces burst into the home of Chen's older brother, Chen Guangfu. A knife fight allegedly ensued. Guangfu is now under house arrest and his son has been taken into police custody.

Hosting Thursday's talk at CFR's headquarters on East 68th Street on the Upper East Side, will be Jerome Cohen, co-director of New York University's U.S.-Asia Law Institute — the same institution that has offered Chen a position as a visiting scholar.

Cohen has been acting as Chen's adviser. He has called the activist "a potential Gandhi figure for Chinese society."

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