In reaction to the outcome of the Chen Guangcheng case Initiatives for China issued the following statement:

As the story continues to develop, we express our serious concerns over the outcome of the negotiations over Chen Guagncheng between the governments of the United States and China. While appreciating the efforts of Secretary Clinton and her top diplomatic officials, we are alarmed that Mr. Chen has been threatened to accept the solution to leave the U.S. Embassy. We urge that the American government takes a firm stand for Cheng Guangcheng and human rights in China, respecting his desire and his wish.

We are extremely worried and remain doubtful that China will not keep its promise to ensure Mr. Chen’s freedom, his family’s safety, no retribution for those who assisted his escape, and the punishment of his abusers. For the hospital where Chen Guangcheng is treated for his foot injury suffered during his escape is heavily guarded; his wife has been harassed and threatened, his village is still under the control of the hired thugs; people assisted Chen are not really free.

We think the recent development in China, including Chen Guangcheng’s case have revealed to the world an essential truth: whether at the top or the bottom of society, people in China do not trust the Chinese Communist regime any more. Foreign nationals can be poisoned, Chinese citizens can be systematically tortured, beaten, or put under house arrest without any legal basis, and assets can be taken from people without fair compensation. Corruption and abuse of power are endemic throughout the Chinese Communist Party and its government; and China’s “stability maintenance” system resembles a mafia-gestapo-style organization. The Chinese people are seriously questioning the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist regime.

We urge China to use the event as a wakeup call. Rather than focusing on saving face and retributions the Chinese government should have the wisdom and courage to turn this crisis into an opportunity by launching real political reform, by starting to really root out corruption, building an independent judicial system and gradually transitioning to democracy.

We also urge that Secretaries Hillary Clinton and Timothy Geithner, not only do everything they can to ensure the safety of Chen and his family, and ensure that China keeps its promise, but also raise the broader issues of China’s corruption and abuse of power, and tie China’s advances in human rights with future strategic and economic cooperation with the United States.

We believe that China is at a crossroads now, and it can either swing toward a democratic or ultra-nationalist militant nation. President Reagan’s persistent pressure on Taiwan’s human rights conditions in the 1980s successfully transformed the island into one of the most dynamic democracies in Asia, and his firm stand against the evil empire eventually brought down the Berlin Wall. President Obama now has an opportunity to use his unequivocal support for Chen Guangcheng and human rights activists to potentially change China into the largest democracy in the world.

Initiatives for China 公民力量
2 May 2012