Newspaper article International New York Times

China Lets Rights Lawyer Flee to U.S. after Release ; Professor Had Been Kept under Surveillance since Summer in Crackdown

Newspaper article International New York Times

China Lets Rights Lawyer Flee to U.S. after Release ; Professor Had Been Kept under Surveillance since Summer in Crackdown

Article excerpt

Chen Taihe was detained last July as part of a crackdown in which more than 200 rights lawyers and their associates were held.

A Chinese lawyer and professor who was detained last summer during a crackdown on human rights lawyers has fled to the United States after being released from surveillance, according to an international human rights group and a statement from the lawyer.

The lawyer, Chen Taihe, 45, joined his wife and children in San Leandro, Calif., on March 1, according to John Kamm, the founder of the Dui Hua Foundation, a group based in San Francisco that works to free political prisoners in China.

Mr. Chen was detained last July in Guilin, in the southern Chinese province of Guangxi, as part of a crackdown that month in which more than 200 rights lawyers and their associates were held. Mr. Chen's pregnant wife and son, now 8, fled to the United States soon after. The second child, a son now 6 weeks old, was born in the United States.

Mr. Chen's case was rare in that the authorities released a political prisoner after a lengthy detention and allowed him to leave the country. In recent years, during a broad crackdown on civil society, Chinese officials have detained many rights advocates, sometimes pressing criminal charges.

"I am grateful to the Guilin police for dropping the charges against me and allowing me to be reunited with my family in the United States," Mr. Chen said in a statement released Sunday through the Dui Hua Foundation. "I would also like to thank my American friends who helped make this possible.

"I sincerely hope that the Chinese government will also show clemency to those lawyers and citizens who have been arrested for subversion and inciting subversion," he added.

Mr. Chen has been an advocate for adopting the jury system in China, and he said he planned to continue his efforts.

Mr. Chen, an associate professor at the Guilin University of Electronic Technology law school, was detained by the police on July 12 on suspicion of inciting subversion of state power, provoking a serious disturbance and embezzlement. On Aug. 12, he was moved to a location outside the formal detention center and placed under surveillance. …

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