Chen Guangcheng: Chinese Government ‘Still Wants to Control Everything’

BY Larisa Epatko  January 30, 2013 at 2:32 PM EST

Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng told NewsHour senior correspondent Ray Suarez Wednesday that China’s new leaders are more of the same “so I would not expect too much” by way of change.

“There are new leaders … but the team really is the same,” he said through a translator. The Chinese Communist Party “still wants to control everything.”

But Chen said he was hopeful that change will come about from the Chinese people, and if the government respects the people’s will, it can improve the tight restrictions on the Internet, press freedoms and expressions of dissent.

Chen, who is blind, came to international attention when he sought sanctuary at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing last April on the eve of a visit by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In May, he was granted permission to study law at New York University, so he left China with his wife and two children. He said at a Council on Foreign Relations event that he wants to return to China after studying law in the United States.

“Where there is oppression, there is resistance,” he told Suarez. And despite the money and human resources spent trying to control him, Chen said here he is in the United States getting interviewed. “So everything is possible in this world.”

Chen was in Washington to receive the 2012 Lantos Human Rights Prize. He received it at a ceremony on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

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We aired the full interview on Wednesday’s NewsHour (updated with link). View more of our World coverage and follow us on Twitter: