Blind Activist Chen Testifies Before Congress for 1st Time
Chen’s daring 2012 escape & live call into Smith’s hearing made international headlines; Forced Abortion Condemned at Hearing
Editor’s note. The following excerpts are taken from information provided by the office of pro-life Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Blind human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng, known for his daring night-time escape from Chinese secret police in 2012 and the subsequent international efforts to secure his freedom and move to the United States, testified in person for the first time before Chairman Chris Smith’s (NJ-04) global human rights subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives. It was a sharp contrast to Chen’s live call to Smith during a similar hearing on May 3, 2013 from a Chinese government hospital bed in China.
The hearing, entitled “Chen Guangcheng and Gao Zhisheng: Human Rights in China” also focused on Gao Zhisheng, a well-known jailed human rights lawyer in China. …
In addition to Chen, Bob Fu, Founder and President, ChinaAid Association; Geng He, wife of imprisoned human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng; Jared Genser, Founder of Freedom Now and international pro bono legal counsel to the Chen and Gao families, testified. …
At two congressional hearings chaired by Smith on May 3 and May 15, 2012, Chen testified by telephone and pleaded for the protection of his extended family—especially his mother, brother, and nephew—and friends. Smith also chaired an emergency hearing on Chen in Nov. 2011 at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, when Chen’s well being could not be ascertained.
The congressman nominated Chen for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, along with two other persecuted Chinese human rights advocates—Gao Zhisheng and Liu Xiaobo. Liu ultimately won the 2010 prize. After November 2011, Smith had been repeatedly thwarted in his attempts to get a visa to travel to visit Chen by the Chinese government. From his hospital bed in China in May 2012, Chen appealed, through an AP reporter, for Smith’s assistance.
Forced Abortion Condemned at Hearing
Smith said Chen, who legally represented women facing forced abortion—deemed a crime against humanity at the Nuremberg Nazi War Crimes Tribunal—was relentless in using his self-taught legal skills to protect the innocent.
“It took a blind man to really see the injustice of a population control program that makes most brothers and sisters illegal and to hear the desperate cries of Chinese women,” Smith said. “It took a blind man, the great Chen Guangcheng, to open the eyes of a blind world to these human rights violations systematically inflicted on Chinese women.”
Chen said that forced abortions is a human rights abuse dictated by the Communist Party.
“Forced abortion is definitely a human rights issue,” Chen said. “No mother wants to kill their own children. It’s definitely dictated by the Central Communist Party. The Communist Party is above the law. So nobody can sue the Chinese Communist Party.”
Amnesty International’s T. Kumar, International Advocacy Director said forced abortion is a major human rights violation in China.
“As a consequence of the government’s one-child policy, women are still compelled to undergo forced abortion and sterilization, notwithstanding official assurances that such practices violate Beijing’s wishes,” Kumar said.
Fu said bloody cases in China’s forcibly enforced “one-child” family planning policy and in forced demolition of residential homes and relocation of residents continue to take place; the Chinese people’s basic right to life cannot be guaranteed at all.
Fu, of ChinaAid, decried the violence of forced “family planning.”
“Last month, the Ministry of Public Health publicly announced the “achievements” of the family planning policy in the past 40 years: 330 million abortions performed on Chinese women,” Fu said. “What is really distressing is that these bloody numbers continue to climb and that the majority of these abortions were forced on the women by the government.” Fu said that on March 13, a woman Henan province (Daxuzhai town, Taikang county) who was forced to have abortion against her will, was found hanged at the local family planning office with suspicious injuries all over her body. On March 22, he testified, a woman in her seventh month of pregnancy in Anhui province (Chuzhou, Fengyang county) was kidnapped by family planning cadres and taken to a hospital where she was forced to receive a lethal injection that killed her seven-month-old unborn baby and caused her to deliver a dead fetus. …