Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, speaking a week after his arrival in the United States, says he is withholding "shocking" information on his ordeal in China which he wants to expose at an appropriate time.
"There are things that I still have not made public—I don’t feel it is yet the time. The day I do so, those with any conscience at all will be shocked," Chen said in a video interview with RFA's Mandarin service on Friday at his apartment in New York city.
He did not specify the issues he would expose, but the 40-year-old self-taught lawyer lamented about the beatings he and his family received while he was held under nearly 19 months of house arrest following his release from a four-year jail term in 2010.
Chen was jailed after exposing forced abortions and sterilizations under China's "one-child" policy.
"Gone are the days when one can simply do what one wants behind closed doors," Chen said in one of his first interviews since arriving in the United States last Saturday to study at New York University School of Law.
"I had not anticipated that I would be left completely free after I got out of prison, but I never expected the circumstances to be this bad. I don’t think anyone in the world expected it," he said.
Chen, who has been blind since a childhood illness, charged that Chinese security authorities, government lawyers, and the judiciary are in direct collusion to victimize those who seek justice in the country.
"In China, it is obvious that while the public security organs, the prosecutors, and the court system are supposed to serve as checks on one another, in reality they are committing crimes together," said Chen who flew to the U.S. after a month-long ordeal in China where he escaped house arrest in late April and sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
He stayed for six days at the embassy, sparking a diplomatic crisis between China and the United States which was finally defused when he was allowed to fly with his wife and two children to New York city to study.
Beijing had earlier agreed to investigate Chen's mistreatment claims while under house arrest in Shandong province's Dongshigu village. It was believed to be part of an understanding reached with U.S. officials before he left the American Embassy.
Chen, in the interview, said China was being hampered by what he called forces refusing to accept reforms for progress.
The country has been held hostage "by a force that is stubbornly opposed to change ...The government has been completely seized by this force and cannot function normally," he said.
Chen said groups that flout the law in China are brazen in their actions.
"They would be shouting, ‘As a matter of fact, we do not need to heed the law. We do not need to go through any legal procedure. We can do whatever we want.’"
“What a horrible situation we found ourselves in. It was as if the entire country had been kidnapped."
Crackdown on family
The legal activist also said he was concerned over the government's continued crackdown on his extended family and supporters in Shandong province.
His nephew, Chen Kegui, has been arrested and accused of "intentional homicide" following a clash last month with local officials who burst into his home looking for Chen after his escape.
Chen Guangfu—the activist's brother and the father of Chen Kegui—also escaped house arrest this week and met Thursday in Beijing with lawyers over his son's case.
Activist Chen said, “My nephew is still being denied access to a lawyer."
"In this case, from the very beginning, the laws of China have been completely trampled upon. Just think, hordes of people storming his home in the middle of the night with weapons to beat his parents—to beat him."
"The person who defended himself ends up being charged with a crime and those who did the beatings are allowed to go free. If what my nephew did is not considered legitimate self-defense, then self-defense does not exist in China," Chen declared.
Reported by Zhang Min for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated by Jennifer Chou. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.