An edited transcript of Chen's interview through an interpreter with a small group of reporters from media outlets around the world, including The Atlantic, follows:
I understand your
family is still being harassed -- how does that affect your work?
The persecution has never stopped. They punctured the tires of [family members'] cars. They've thrown bricks and rocks through their windows. My nephew was
put in jail. The phone line was cut at my mothers' house. Perhaps the reason is that this is the one-year anniversary since I escaped from China.
Perhaps people went crazy over this. I think they also see that I'm making a lot of talks, I say things they hate to hear.
It does not affect me. It strengthens my will to disclose the very evil and authoritarian nature of the Chinese regime. It makes me more determined to
fight for human rights.
How should other countries react toward countries like China to strengthen the fight of activists like yourself?
I think international society should make it clear their attitude and abide by their principles to support human rights in China and not to cave in because
of the economic benefits of doing business in China. China is now in the process of transformation, and it is just beginning. Those in power in China understand
that, and some of the people in China at the grassroots level know this too. However, it remains very much unknown to the international society. I think
they should also approach civil society groups in China and walk side-by-side with them.
Can you be just as effective an activist outside of China as inside?
I'm probably more effective outside of China, but the nature of the work here is different. There is work needed to be done inside of China, but also work that needs
to be done outside of China -- such as promoting civil rights, democracy, and justice.
Do you think that the change in leadership has caused any increased openness in China?
Definitely not. I think it's actually going backward. For example, the government recently announced the "7 no" policy -- seven topics that aren't supposed to be mentioned by
schools or party committees.
What are some the advantages -- and limitations -- of Weibo and other online platforms for increasing conversation among dissidents in China?
It's a very common platform accessed by all -- it is very fast paced and has a lot of agility. Even though there are a lot of people censoring it, a lot of the information they want to censor has already been forwarded among the netizens. They can never get full control of the information.
Of course, there are some limitations. For example, the censorship committee has the power to shut down your accounts, they can remove your posts, and opinion leaders are more carefully monitored. Twitter is a useful tool, but that is blocked by the great firewall. Not a lot of people have the technology
to circumvent the firewall.