Libertad con pasaje de ida y vuelta

NUEVA YORK – Los medios occidentales describen a mi amigo y colega Chen Guangcheng como un activista ciego que voló hacia la libertad cuando China le permitió viajar de Beijing a Estados Unidos. Lo esencial sobre Chen no es ni su ceguera ni la visita de su familia a Estados Unidos, sino el hecho de que enarbola una visión de los derechos humanos universales, una visión que se puede realizar sólo si China cumple con su promesa de permitirle algún día regresar a casa.

Históricamente, China ha obligado a académicos y disidentes como nosotros a exiliarse. Cuando el movimiento estudiantil chino estalló en 1989, yo estaba cursando un doctorado en matemáticas en la Universidad de California-Berkeley. Viajé a Beijing para participar como activista en la Plaza Tiananmen, donde por poco logré escapar a la masacre y regresar a Estados Unidos.

Por mi activismo, sin embargo, China se negó a renovar mi pasaporte. De manera que, cuando regresé a China en 2002 para ayudar al movimiento en defensa de los derechos de los trabajadores, utilicé el pasaporte de un amigo. China me encarceló en carácter de preso político durante cinco años, hasta 2007. Durante un año y medio de ese período, me tuvieron en confinamiento solitario, sin acceso a visitas, material de lectura, ni siquiera a papel y una lapicera.

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