Activist Chen says China democracy "slow but irreversible"

  • Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, in his first major public appearance in the United States, has said democratic change in China is “slow but irreversible”.

    Chen arrived in New York two weeks ago to study.

    The blind activist sparked diplomatic tensions when he escaped house arrest and fled to the U.S. embassy in Beijing in April.

    The self-taught lawyer had been confined to his home following a four-year prison sentence over his legal support for victims of forced abortions and sterilizations under China’s one-child policy.

    Chinese authorities eventually allowed him to leave the country to study at New York University School of Law, a decision he has called "unprecedented".

    In his speech at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank, Chen urged Western nations to try harder to promote the rule of law but warned they should not force China to replicate their own democracies.