Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chen Guangcheng's Escape

Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng recently escaped from custody and fled to US protective custody at the embassy in China. Having been under house arrest, Chen managed to evade the guards and make his way from Shandong to Beijing, with the help of He ('Pearl') Peirong, as well as release a video of his safety.

In China, netizen activists are taking to forums and micro-blogging websites to priase the escape. In response, China's censors have been working to suppress online conversation. As a  result netizens are referring to Chen simply as "the blind man." Regardless, many mentions of Chen's prior whereabouts and escape are being censored and removed. One micro-blogger, Jing Huili wrote: "Never has the fate of a single blind man moved the hearts of an entire nation."

Netizens are comparing this recent event to the Bo Xilai scandal that has been unfolding in past weeks and spurring online discussion. It must also be noted that China's assumed stronghold on prisoners is decidedly weak, as Chongqing police chief Wang's fleeing to US protection brought about the Bo Xilai controvery and weeks later a blind man similarly escapes to the US embassy.

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