I ask whether he resents the Communist party for the way he and his family have been treated, and if he considers himself anti-communist. He stops eating and asks his wife if there are any chopsticks with which to tackle his linguine, but there aren’t so he soldiers on. “It doesn’t make sense to say I oppose the Communist party or the Chinese government – after all there are more than [80m] party members and there are good and bad people in any large group,” he says. “Within the party and government there are very few people who hold real power, and the rest don’t even get to vote on who represents them. Opposing the entire Communist party is not a justified, rational or objective position to take.” ….
He continues, emphatically: “China will see democracy, I’m one hundred per cent sure – it just needs time. If everyone makes an effort to build a more just and civil society then it will come faster and if everyone stands by and does nothing, then it will come slower but is still inevitable. Whether the authorities wish it to or not, the dawn comes and the day breaks just the same.”
Jamil Anderlini, “Lunch with the FT: Chen Guangcheng“, Financial Times, 22 September 2012.
Chen Guangcheng (1971) is a blind legal activist who in April 2012 escaped house arrest and sought sanctuary in the US embassy in Beijing. Chen, with his wife and two children, left Beijing on May 19th for New York City, where he is now studying law. This self-educated “barefoot lawyer” is a remarkable man who is deeply concerned with defending women’s rights and with the welfare of the poor. His faith, idealism and optimism shine in this FT interview.