Chen under attack

Angus Walker

Former ITV News Correspondent

Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng

An article in today's Global Times, an English language newspaper with links to the Chinese state, accuses Chen Guangcheng, the blind human rights activist, of being "paranoid" and "impulsive".

Chen recently escaped house arrest in rural eastern China, making his way to Beijing where he was granted sanctuary inside the US Embassy.

He was then transferred to a hospital where he's being treated for a leg injury sustained while escaping.

The Chinese authorities say he can leave China and study in the US. He's waiting for a passport and is expected to leave within a week.

The article, written by Liu Yang, described as a 'blogger', suggests that Chen "didn't realise he was being used and his case hyped into a national political issue".

The central claim to the piece is that Chen's "lack of comprehensive education and knowledge about rights activism" meant he could be "manipulated" by outside forces [i.e. the US] and he "was encouraged to raise his problem to the state level, accusing the whole Chinese political system of being to blame".

It's a strongly-worded attack on the campaigner, who came into conflict with local authorities in his home province, Shandong, when he stood up for the rights of women forced to have abortions or sterilisations.

Although illegal, it was Chen who fell foul of the law and he was jailed and then placed under house arrest for almost two years before his remarkable escape.

The article ends by asking how "they" (the US) "can be so cruel as to use a disabled person in their political games?"