Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese dissident whose dramatic escape from house arrest and eventual flight to the United States captivated global audiences in April, heads to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for talks with top lawmakers including Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Chen endured a four-year prison term for his outspoken denunciations of China's "One Child" policy — which critics charge results in forced abortions. He fled house arrest and sought refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing, triggering a diplomatic incident shortly before a visit to China by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton ultimately carved out a deal permitting him to seek refuge in the United States.
Chen is reportedly writing a memoir due out in late 20123.
Pelosi is one of the most outspoken critics of China's alleged human rights abuses. Boehner has rapped Beijing as well, notably using a January 2011 visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to criticize the "One Child" policy.