Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng criticized Beijing’s “relentless” efforts to suppress human rights, during a trip to Taiwan that could drive a wedge between cross-strait relations.

Chen, who fled to the US for fear of persecution in China after escaping from house arrest, said he is convince that Beijing’s heavy handed crackdown on human rights will only backfire, reports The Associated Press.

He also lauded Taiwan’s democracy and said that rapidly growing yearnings for freedoms and human rights among the Chinese will trump Chinese “authoritarian rule”.

“No other regimes in the world have feared or monitored their own people in such way,” Chen told a news conference in Taipei.

“Now is a crucial moment for the entire mainland and Asia to move on to practice democracy,” he said.

Chen dodged questions about his criticism last week of New York University, which he accused of bowing to pressure from China when it released him. NYU denied the accusation and said Chen’s one-year fellowship at the school had expired.

His visit drew flak from Chinese authorities. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said “every Chinese citizen has obligations to abide by the constitution and laws of China and refrain from doing things that will hurt the national interest.”