“Hello, this is Chen Guangcheng,” came a matter-of-fact, almost cheerful voice.
I introduced myself in halting Chinese, using my Chinese name and the Chinese name for The Washington Post. I asked how Chen was, and where. I asked him to speak slowly, to make sure I could understand.
“Washington Post?” Chen repeated, his voice sounding generally happy. Chen said he was fine and was in the car headed to the hospital, Chaoyang Hospital. He repeated the name slowly, three times.
And that was it. Chen handed the phone back to the ambassador, who said they were stuck in traffic, but promised a full briefing later.
The Post had a prior relationship with Chen Guangcheng, as they wrote an article on the dissident in 2005.