Dissident lawyer Chen Guangcheng said Wednesday that Beijing has failed to honor its pledge to investigate abuses that he and his family were subjected to in China, as he met with top U.S. lawmakers in Washington.
The blind activist has said that he and his family experienced beatings while they languished under house arrest and that Beijing had promised him it would sack those officials responsible for the mistreatment.
Chen, who was jailed after leading a critical campaign against China’s one-child policy, escaped from confinement and made his way to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in May before negotiating his travel to New York where he is studying law.
But at a press conference in the U.S. Capitol building flanked by House Speaker John Boehner, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and other members of Congress, Chen said that no Chinese officials have contacted him since he arrived in the U.S. three months ago.
"The Chinese central government explicitly promised me that it would thoroughly investigate the extended oppression and abuse that I endured in Shandong province," Chen said.
"The government further promised to provide for the security of my family. However, it has been more than three months and I have not received any news on the progress of this investigation or even whether it has commenced."
In May, the Shandong branch of the ruling Chinese Communist Party removed from office one of the province's most powerful law enforcement officials, Bai Jimin, in a move which analysts said could be linked to Chen's demand that officials who authorized the mistreatment of him and his family be investigated and punished.
However, Bai didn't receive any kind of public sanction, and was simply transferred to a less high-profile post at the provincial People's Congress.
During his highest-level contact so far with U.S. officials on Wednesday, Chen also expressed his concern for his nephew Chen Kegui, who Chinese authorities have charged with attempted murder and who has been denied access to lawyers hired by his family.
Chen called the continued detention of his nephew “essentially a continuance of my own case,” and dismissed the charges against him, saying that Chen Kegui had simply been defending himself with a kitchen knife when “local government officials and their hired thugs” broke into his home.
He also called on the U.S. and other democratic nations to support the Chinese people, who he said have been increasingly willing to assert their rights amid the “deteriorating” human rights situation in China.
"I sincerely hope that the United States and all other nations that embrace the fundamental values of constitutionalism, democracy, freedom, and the rule of law will support and assist with a smooth transition in China," he said, adding that change in the nation is “inevitable.”
Reported by Joshua Lipes.