Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng called on Americans to re-elect U.S. President Donald Trump to “stop China’s aggression” as he attacked the Obama-Biden administration’s “policy of appeasement” toward Beijing.
Chen’s appearance at the third night of the online Republican National Convention (RNC) and open support for Trump was met with mixed reactions.
He shared a video from the night, thanking the American president on his official Twitter account.
His tweet, which generated more than 3,000 likes, was met with applause by anti-Beijing supporters. “You showed the world how a true Chinese diplomat should behave on the global stage,” tweeted one supporter in praise. “You might be physically blind but you see the light better than most. I felt pride in watching you.” Another said: “Let Americans and the rest of the world know the evils of the Chinese Communist Party. Lay a better public opinion foundation for Trump to deal with Beijing.”
While Chen’s appearance drew some praise, it was also slammed by other Chinese dissidents who said his stance was contradictory to their cause for human rights.
Another outspoken political dissident artist, Shanghai-born Badiucao, aired his views on Twitter following Chen’s televised speech. “I share his judgment that the Chinese Communist Party is one of the biggest threats to the free world but Chen’s pro-Trump stance is unfortunately quite common among Chinese dissidents,” he tweeted. “It’s a disappointment that he fails to see Trump’s presidency is another deadly threat to human rights, freedom and democracy. As long as Trump sounds like he favors a war with China, he will be supported by most Chinese dissidents.”
“For Chinese human rights defenders, there is zero logical consistency to supporting Trump,” Beijing-based lawyer and human rights activist Teng Biao, also a friend and supporter of Chen told the South China Morning Post. “I was his former lawyer but I completely oppose what he’s doing.”
Chinese censors also moved swiftly, erasing all search terms and mentions of Chen’s name and videos of his appearance on Sina Weibo.
In his speech, Chen Guangcheng rallied on Americans to support Trump “for the sake of the world.”
“The U.S. must use its values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, to gather a coalition of other democracies to stop China’s aggression,” Chen said in a video message. “President Trump has led on this and we need the other countries to join him in this fight. A fight for our future.”
Trump’s coalition of other democracies can stop the aggression of the Chinese Communist Party, he said.
“The CCP is an enemy of humanity. It is terrorizing its own people and it is threatening the well-being of the world,” he said. “In China, expressing beliefs or ideas not approved by the CCP — religion, democracy, human rights — can lead to prison. The nation lives under mass surveillance and censorship.”
The blind activist who is known for his work against forced abortions under China’s one-child policy was brought to the U.S. by the Obama administration in 2012 after he escaped house arrest and appeared at the American embassy in Beijing.
“I was persecuted, beaten, and put under house arrest by the Chinese Communist Party — The CCP,” he detailed his experience under the hands of the CPP.
Years later, a “forever grateful” Chen came out attacking the same administration that secured his safety after years of imprisonment.
“The policy of appeasement of former administrations — including (Barack) Obama and (Joe) Biden — has allowed the CCP to infiltrate and corrode different aspects of the global community,” he said. Biden is the official Democratic Party’s nominee for President.
“The Chinese Communist Party goes through the dance of diplomacy… but it seeks to make the rest of the world bow to its authoritarian vision. The CCP is waiting patiently for the U.S. and other democracies to bend to its will under fear of economic retribution,” he added.
He likened the CCP to the coronavirus that is “the people of the world.”
Gary Locke, who served as U.S. ambassador to China under President Obama and State Secretary Hillary Clinton, defended the former president’s China policy.
“Defending human rights is more than just talk,” he said in a tweet.
“The Obama-Biden White House stood up to China, authorized the Embassy to rescue Chen Guangcheng from the streets of Beijing, gave him refuge, and secured his release to America.”
The relationship between Washington and Beijing has worsened amid a dragging trade war. Trump has made his tough stance on China an important strategy for his re-election campaign.