'Barefoot lawyer' Chen Guangcheng is still waiting for the Chinese authorities to send him and his family to the United States. However, US diplomats can no longer visit the blind activist, while journalists are not allowed to approach the hospital where he stays. But on Tuesday afternoon Metro was able to reach him by telephone for an interview.
Q: Where are you? Are you still stuck inside Chaoyang hospital?
A: Yes, I am. I'm here with my wife and two children. But we have no idea when we'll be able to leave.
Q: We heard that you have received invitation from New York University. Is it confirmed and are you going to study there?
A: Yes, I will. But I don't know when we will leave, because we haven't received the relevant documents yet.
Q: Do you have news about your family left at home in Shandong?
A: I have been told that my nephew Chen Kequi (who allegedly injured guards who broke into his house; JP) is under criminal detention and has lost his personal freedom. And the whole family of my older brother Chen Guangfu have received many threats from Shandong officials. I don't know much details.
Q: Could you contact your mother?
A: I've called my mum yesterday: She is very worried, about my nephew and I.
Q: How are her living conditions?
A: She is at our house in the village of Dongshigu, but her health is not very good. She has a serious arthritis problem, it's even difficult for her to walk.
Q: Many new cameras have been installed inside your home. Is your mum in a sense free?
A: Yes, she should be free by now. I raised these problems when the Central Government sent some official to talk to me. I requested them to uninstall the cameras and to get all the guards to leave my house. As far as I know, they have moved out of my house, but they are still at the entrance to the village! But I believe my mother is free, because there is no need to limit her freedom now.
Q: What if you cannot come back to China after your studies in New York University?
A: For that, I am not worried. If the two countries are true partners, I should be able to enter and exit the border freely.