Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, Honorary President of the Rome-based Dignitatis Humanae Institute and Lord Alton, Chairman of the British Parliament’s Cross-Party Working Group on Human Dignity, met Monday to discuss the situation of blind Chinese lawyer Chen Guangcheng.
The self-taught lawyer, who sought sanctuary in the US Embassy in Beijing over the weekend after escaping six years of house imprisonment, remains separated from his family, members of whom have been taken into custody.
As talks between Chinese and US officials continue, Lord Alton urged China to show compassion on humanitarian grounds for Chen and his family, and asked for them all to be allowed to leave for the United States, to receive medical treatment (as previously happened with the case of Fang Lizhi):
Lord Alton said: “Chen Guangcheng and his family have a number of well-known medical issues that would reasonably justify a decision, on humanitarian grounds, to allow them to travel to the United States or Europe for medical treatment.”
Despite losing his sight at an early age, Chen Guangcheng managed to teach himself law and has become an international icon in his native China, and around the world. After a period in prison ended in 2010, Chen remained under house arrest until he fled to the US Embassy for sanctuary on 22 April.
Cardinal Martino added: “With a decision on Chen’s future likely to be decided in the next week, the Dignitatis Humanae Institute appeals for compassion and mercy for Chen and his family.”