Exiled Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng on Monday posted a video urging incoming President Xi Jinping to respect human rights and follow Burma on the path to democratic reform. “The whole nation is watching you,” said Chen in the 10-minute dispatch posted by ChinaAid, an NGO. “Whether you follow the mandate of heaven and the will of the people and carry out reform or you hijack the government and protect the privileged [i.e. those in power] foretells whether our motherland will go through a peaceful or a violent transition.”
Chen, an activist who campaigned against forced abortions, made a dramatic escape from house arrest last spring. He was taken in by the U.S. embassy, setting off high-stakes diplomatic negotiations between China and the U.S. He was eventually allowed to leave China with his wife and children but was forced to leave his extended family behind. The video was posted just days after his nephew, Chen Kegui, was sentenced to three years and three months in prison on charges related to a clash with police last April. “Because I fled the country, the government officials have enacted revenge on my nephew Chen Kegui and others,” he said. He added: “To this day, there has been no news that the Communist Party leaders are willing to change and do the right thing. They are posing a challenge to humanity, justice and our conscience.”
Read the full transcript, here.