Chen Guangcheng to address Council on Foreign Relations

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-Life Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) and pro-life human rights activist Chen Guangcheng.

Even as he is focuses on the safety of family members who remain in China and his own physical and emotional recovery, pro-life human rights activist Chen Guangcheng is preparing to address the prestigious Council on Foreign Affairs on Thursday. Chen will be alongside New York University law professor Jerome Cohen, his mentor, whom he met in 2003 when Chen came to the United States.

The Washington Post is reporting that Chen is also expected to tell his incredible story of courage in the face of a brutally repressive Chinese government at a congressional hearing.

By now the broad outlines of his saga are widely known. Chen served more than four years in prison on bogus charges after revealing China’s brutal policy of forced abortion and forced sterilization, part and parcel of its “One Child” policy. He had been under illegal detention in his home for 19 months before he escaped April 22.

Following a brief (and harrowing) stay at the United States Embassy in Beijing, he was transferred to a hospital where he was treated for injuries and anxiously awaited a decision whether he and his family would be allowed to leave. For its own reasons, the Chinese government allowed him to fly to the United States on May 19 with his wife and two children.

In interviews with CNN and Reuters, Chen, who is blind, confirmed that he and his wife were beaten periodically—“”Yes, it was beyond everybody’s imagination,” Chen told CNN—only to add, “But I don’t want to talk about it right now.” He also offered details about his daring escape from his home town of Dongshigu village

His own 2006 trial “was just a farce of them investigating, prosecuting, trying and convicting all by themselves,” he told CNN. But he quickly shifted to his nephew who is in prison on charges of intent to murder. (“Chen Kegui used a kitchen knife to fight off three intruders in his home April 26 after the discovery of his uncle’s escape,” the Washington Post reported last week. “The three turned out to be government agents.”)

Reggie Littlejohn is President, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, and one of Chen’s most faithful defenders. She recently spoke at the Commemoration of the 23rd Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, hosted by the Visual Artists Guild of Los Angeles.

In those remarks Littlejohn said she spoke humbly “in honor of one of the greatest and most noble heroes of our time – one of the human rights giants of the twenty-first century, the Gandhi of China — activist Chen Guangcheng.”  She made a hugely important point: “Lost in the drama of Chen’s escape is the issue for which he risked everything:  the abuse of women and families under China’s One Child Policy.”

Littlejohn has never allowed that underlying issue to be swept under the rug. When she testified May 3 before the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China at a hearing held by Chairman Chris Smith (R-NJ), she was asked two questions, beginning with “What is the underlying issue that got Chen Guangcheng detained?”

She pointed out that much of the mainstream media had left out “why is there such intense persecution, what is it that set off the Chinese Communist Government party against Chen Guangcheng?” And the answer Littlejohn gave was, “The fact that he was the one person in China who dared to stand up against the One Child Policy.”

Just prior to testifying, Littlejohn wrote,

“…Chen is hugely symbolic in China, the conscience of the nation.  By challenging the One Child Policy, he has challenged the lynchpin of social control in China. This explains the ferocity of the Chinese Communist Party’s reaction to him.”

In addition, President Obama not only refunded the UNFPA, he boosted spending for it. As National Right to Life has made clear, “The UNFPA is a cheerleader and facilitator for China’s birth-quota program, which relies heavily on coerced abortion. Top UNFPA officials have been completely cozy with China’s birth-quota bosses. For 20 years, top UNFPA leaders have consistently praised China’s program and attacked its critics.”

The irony is, of course, that even as NARAL is praising Obama for championing UNFPA, human rights champion Chen Guancheng has been persecuted mercilessly for exposing China’s program of coerced abortion.

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