May 24th, 2012

Chen Guangcheng’s 1st tv interview on AC360

Below are select sound bites and video link from today’s interview. Please credit all usage to Anderson Cooper 360°.

Anderson Cooper: “There are reports about you and your wife beaten periodically, what happened”?

Chen Guangcheng: “Yes it was beyond everybody’s imagination, I would talk about it later but I don’t want to talk about it right now. I’m very glad to have the opportunity to talk to you today, I’ve only been here for less than 5 days, for me I understand there is a lot of concern about me and many people care about me. But I still need some time to gather my thoughts. After evading danger and the obstacles I was able to get out of Dongshigu village [his home town] and then I called my good friend Guo Yushan in Beijing, he quickly led a team to find me and drove me to Beijing. I was able to talk extensively with him during the journey and found out what had been going on in the outside world. So Mr. Guo played a very important role in this process

While in Beijing he found me a safe place to stay temporarily but then we started to worry about my safety because of my experience in 2005. During that time other than trying to treat my foot injury, we kept thinking about a safer place for me to stay and eventually I thought of the place everyone knew. There’s one thing I want to mention that may be a surprise to many people. When a group of people come together and accomplish something, they often fight for credit. In my case all those people who went to Shandong to pick me up, when the news broke, they were fighting for risk instead of credit. They were all trying to claim responsibility to make others safer.”

Anderson Cooper: “Do you worry about what would happen to them (the people who helped him)?”

Chen Guangcheng: “Of course I’m very worried. We can see their retribution against my family since my escape has continued and been intensified. In the case of my nephew Chen Kegui, when dozens of men break into someone’s house with weapons in the middle of the night, taking away your parent with a hood over his head and detain him without any legal basis and then go back to assault my nephew, he only reacted when he could no longer bear the beatings and his actions would be self defense according to any Chinese law. They injured his head, and made him bleed for 3 hours. And his clothes were shattered and the sticks they used to beat him were bent and if actions under such circumstances was not called self defense, would there be any meaning left in having the term self defense in Chinese law?”

Anderson Cooper: “What was the house arrest like when you were released from prison?”

Chen Guangcheng: “I want to correct one thing here, when we talked about my situation in the future let’s not use the word house arrest but instead let’s use the term illegal detention. It’s hard for me to describe what it was like during that time. But let’s just say that my suffering was beyond imagination”

On being outside and feeling the sun: “I haven’t been able to feel the nature for a long time, on that day I had some time to soak in the sun and feel the breeze. I just felt I hadn’t been able to do that in so long. I have missed out for too long”

On reports that he was beaten:  “the brutality was beyond anyone’s imagination”