Chen Guangcheng, the activist who dramatically escaped house arrest last year, said on Wednesday that foreign media had a crucial impact in China and urged them to keep up their coverage.
In an address inside the Washington National Cathedral, the blind self-taught lawyer reiterated his conviction that China will eventually reform due to the pressure from citizens who challenge one-party rule.
“Foreign journalists can also do their part. They may not know it, but their reporting puts a great deal of pressure on the Communist Party,” Chen said.
“Although the Chinese leadership pretends it has no impact, it most certainly does. That’s the truth.”
Chen rose to prominence in eastern Shandong province after he exposed corruption by officials who enforced China’s one-child policy. He was sentenced to four years in prison in 2006 and then placed under house arrest.
The lawyer, blind since childhood, became the focus of international attention when he escaped house arrest and fled to the US embassy in Beijing. Chen said he endured heavy beating for speaking out.
During a previously scheduled visit by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chinese authorities agreed to let Chen travel to the United States with his family to study law at New York University.