LifeNews has received a copy of a transcript of a phone call that took place between forced abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng Wednesday night and his attorney Teng Biao. During the call, Teng is seen advising Chen to get his family out of China because of threats and dangers to their lives.
Chen doesn’t speak much during the call — likely because he is surrounded in his hospital room by Chinese officials and guards who could overhear him talk more about his plans for the future.
Teng (seen below right), one of the most prominent law scholars and professors in China, also speaks with Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing, and both are currently in Chen’s room at the hospital in Beijing as the world watches to see his fate. ChinaAid, a U.S.-based organization that has worked closely with Chen and his supporters in China, provided the transcript.
Chen Guangcheng called up lawyer Teng Biao from Beijing Chaoyang Hospital
May, 2, 2012, 19:55:12
Teng: Guangcheng! How are you! After so many years of not being able to see you, I’m thrilled to hear your voice. It’s wonderful you’re free now! We all care for you, and we’re also very concerned about you. Are you at a hospital?
Chen: Yes, I’m at a hospital.
Teng: What concerns us the most is the next step you’re going to take. What are you planning to do next?… As your friend, I want you to carefully consider your decision. Most netizens concerned about you want you to leave China and take your family with you to the US.
Teng: I want to give you greetings from many people who care about you deeply, including professor Cohen from the US and professor Ai Hua from Hongkong. They’ve done a lot of things for you over the years.
Chen: Thank you. I appreciate the concern of these people. I know about professor Cohen and professor Ai Hua.
Teng: How’s your health? Do you have other injuries besides those on your legs?
Chen: Thanks, everyone for your concern. The majority of my injuries are superficial. I got a foot fracture. Now it’s in a cast.
Teng: Your health was in poor condition before. You had diarrhea. Have you received a full-body checkup?
Chen: I’ll get it tomorrow.
Teng: I heard that Weijing left your village in the company of officials from Shandong. Was it true? How is your mother? Is she still under house arrest?
Chen: Yes. The authorities of Shandong might have received an order from the central government asking them to take Yuan Weiing to Beijing. My mom is still at my hometown. I can’t find out how she is doing. I called her but couldn’t get through. Some new obstacles have been set up around my house. (Note: This sentence was not very intelligible.)
Teng: Have you heard about Chen Kegui and your older brother? Chen Kegui is in serious danger. Chen Hua and his father were both arrested.
Chen: I’ve heard about that.
Teng: He is in a very dangerous situation. If he got caught, the result would be unimaginable. You must tell the US Embassy what happened to Chen Kegui, Chen Hua and your family. As a lawyer, I know what Kegui did was out of self-defense. But if you tell about their situation, they may end up suffering horrible reprisals shifted onto them.
Chen: I already told.
Teng: One more thing, do you know what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson say today? About yourcase?
Chen: I don’t.
Teng: His attitude was very stern and there was no flavor of friendly negotiation between China and the US in his speech. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Liu Weimin said, “Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese citizen, was taken by the U.S. side to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing via abnormal means, and the Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied with the move. What the U.S. side has done has interfered in the domestic affairs of China, and the Chinese side will never accept it. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing has the obligation to observe relevant international laws and Chinese laws, and it should not do anything irrelevant to its function. China demands that the United States thoroughly investigate the event, hold relevant people accountable and ensure that such an event does not happen again.” His attitude was rude and unreasonable… If they give you a promise that they will not retaliate on you in the future, you should never count on their word. Such a promise will be effective for only one or two weeks. If you continue to stay in China, you’re putting yourself in great danger.
Teng: Have you met with others?
Chen: No, I saw no one this afternoon. They might have all been blocked outside.
Teng: A lot of netizens went to the hospital to see you. They must have been blocked outside. If I were in Beijing, I would have been blocked too. I will find a way to meet with you. I heard you were planning on teaching or studying at a school. Which school?
Chen: I plan on studying. I haven’t decided which school to go to.
Teng: Guangchen, you should not make such a decision. You’ll be in great danger if you stay in China. I’m serious.
Teng: There’s word that some guard was arrested, the guard who helped you escape. Was it true?
Chen: There was no guard assisting me. I escaped by myself.
Teng: Have you heard anything about Pearl (Zhengzhu)?
Chen: No. I only heard that she disappeared.
Teng: Yes, she disappeared. GuoYushan was released, but he’s still in danger. Reprisals are coming for sure. In 1989, they also made an oath promising that they would not retaliate, but look how many people were killed and arrested? You know that Yu Jie, Jiang Tianyong, Fan Yafeng, Li Fangping and others, plus me, we are all people with some influence in the world like you, but we have all experienced torture in their hands. If you choose to stay in China this time, they may not do anything against you for a while, but there would be horrible reprisals. It would not be as lenient as four years in prison or two and half years under house arrest. Their methods of torture are awful and unbearable. These many years of persecution against you, it was not merely inflicted by Shandong government. You were kidnapped in Beijing multiple times. One time your mom and Kerui were at downstairs of the building I lived in, it was Beijing police who pulled me away, pushed me to the ground and took your mom and Kerui away by force. And the time when you were kidnapped at downstairs of the building Jiang Tianyong lived in, Beijing government was involved in that action. The whole government hates you. The requests you made to Premier Wen Jiabao in the video are great. Wen is a pretty good person. But even if he tries to protect you with all his strength, he may not succeed.
Chen: Ok. I understand.
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Teng: Are there people from the US Embassy by your side?
Chen: No. They promised they would stay with me all the time, but they have left. Now it’s just us at the hospital.
Teng: You’re in great danger now! Were you supposed to meet with Hilary this afternoon?
Chen: We talked on the phone, but I haven’t seen her in person.
Teng: Did Gary Locke accompany you to the hospital?
Chen: Gary Locke, Cambell and the others took me to the hospital, but they have all left.
Teng: I suggest you go back to the Embassy as soon as possible.
Chen: This… doesn’t seem to be possible right now.
Teng: Is it the US Embassy or the Chinese government that doesn’t allow you to go back?
Teng: Guangcheng, even if you have told people of the US Embassy that you would not go back there, you can still change your mind, and it would be totally understandable if you do. You must reconsider this. You know, Kegui, Chen Hua and other family members of yours are in severe danger. Pearl (Zhenzhu) and other netizens who tried to come to your rescue have been taken away by police. If not for your own sake, but for the sake of your family and friends who tried to rescue you, you should still go back to the US Embassy and find a way to go to the US. If this stays unsettled, all of you will be in danger. We fully understand why you prefer not to leave China. You want to stay and do some things (for this country). But you must understand that if you choose to stay, you won’t be able to do anything. Even if you stay away from sensitive legal cases, you will still not be allowed to do some things on your own. You will encounterinterference in many areas. I’ve got friends who came out of prison and started their own business, which could not last because of (government’s) interferences. You’ve already done so much and made great sacrifices for China’s cause of human rights and liberty. We don’t want to see you sacrifice more and pay a heavier price. Please consider carefully when you make a decision.
Chen: I got your point.
Teng: You take care. Call me any time if something comes up.
May 2, 2012, 20:45:23
Chen: I need to tell you something. They might have already started their reprisals. By now, they haven’t given us dinner yet. My children are starved and crying.
Teng: Did you call the Embassy? Tell them about this. What did the nurse have to say?
Chen: They told me to look for the director if I need anything.
Teng: Did you ask for dinner from the nurse or someone else? How can they not supply dinner when it’s almost nine o’clock at night? You can give XXX a call. Let me give you her number. Let me tell you XXX’s number.
Chen: You give her a call.
Teng: I’ll call her right away.
May 2, 2012, 20:47:57
Yuan Weijing: Hello. Dinner has been provided to us.
Teng: You heard what I told Guangcheng, haven’t you? Have you got dinner? Did the Embassy say they had sent someone over?
Chen: Someone from the Embassy talked to the hospital about dinner.
Teng: You go ahead eat dinner. Hand the phone to Weijing. Let me speak to her. (To Weijing) The main point I made to Guangcheng is that, he should change his mind about remaining in China and go to the US instead. It’s too dangerous for him to stay in China. China and the US are having negotiations about this case, so his safety won’t be a problem during this period of time. But as soon as the Americans are gone, you’ll be in danger. (The Chinese government’s) retribution against you would be horrible. We know very well the measures they took against you over these years and this is not a matter controlled by the local authorities of Linyi and Shaodong. We understand Guangcheng’s intention to remain in China and to do some things for this country, but that is barely possible. Many people’s experiences can prove it. Not only have they been banned from human rights defense and NGO work, they are not even allowed to run a small business to make a living. In addition, Pearl (Zhenzhu) and Kegui are in danger, too. Right now, all the friends of yours wish that you could make a safe trip to the US and live a normal life there. Please give serious consideration to my advice. Even if Guangcheng has made some sort of a promise, he could still change his mind. The US Embassy will not deny his request for a reentry.
Yuan Weijing: I heard you. Do you want to speak to Guangcheng?
Teng: No, let him eat his dinner first. How is Guangcheng’s mom doing?
Yuan Weijing: Her health condition is bad. What happened had a huge impact on our family, and she can’t stop feeling worried.
Teng: Is your house still guarded?
Yuan Weijing: The guards around the house are no longer those recruited from society. Those people have been replaced by policemen.
Teng: How about Chen Guangfu? Is he home or in police custody?
Yuan Weijing: We don’t know. We can’t get hold of him.
Teng: Go ahead eat your dinner. Contact me whenever something comes up.
May 2, 2012, 22:08
Teng: Have you been threatened?
Chen: Yes, indeed. Someone from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told me this afternoon that if I didn’t leave (the embassy), Weijing and children would have to return (to our village). Those who brought her here are still in this neighborhood.
Teng: What did the US Embassy tell you?
Chen: They seemed to want me to leave too.
Teng: You are not left with many options now. You should call the Embassy and let them know your intension to go back there; otherwise you safety is not guaranteed.
Teng: Jinyan posted online about your situation. Now her home is heavily guarded and she cannot be reached. If you wish to make any request, you should do it while Hilary is still in Beijing and the world is closely watching (your case). It would be too late if you miss this opportunity. I saw Hilary’s statement online today. She said that arrangements would be made according to your wishes and American values. Your wishes are their priority. Call the US Embassy now, will you?
Chen: Got it.
May 2, 2012, 22:12
Chen: I called two people of the Embassy. Neither answered the phone.
Teng: Some sources said that you have received threats?
Chen: Yes, indeed. This afternoon at Chaoyang Hospital, someone from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs threatened me that if I didn’t leave (the embassy),Weijing and children would be sent back to Shandong. The Shandong officials who brought Wejing here remain close by and haven’t left Beijing.