By Dave Andrusko
Chinese pro-life human rights activist Chen Guangcheng met yesterday with Congressional leaders, expressing doubts that the investigation the Chinese government promised into the abuses he and his family had suffered in China had even begun and renewed concern about the fate of his nephew.
After a harrowing journey that included four years in jail and more than 19 months under house arrest, Chen, who is blind, and his family were finally allowed to leave China in May. He is now studying at the U.S.-Asia Law Institute at New York University’s School of Law
“Up until now — and it has been more than three months — I have not received any news on the progress of this investigation or even whether it has commenced,” Chen said through his interpreter. “Since my arrival in the United States, no Chinese government officials have contacted me.”
Significantly, he added, “If a case as high profile as mine can’t be handled properly in accordance with Chinese law and international legal norms, how are we able to believe that China will respect human rights and the rule of law?”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) hosted the bipartisan meeting with Chen. In his remarks following the meeting, Speaker Boehner referred to what Chen is best known for in the West: exposing China’s brutal policy of forced abortion and forced sterilization, part and parcel of its “One Child” policy.
“It’s truly an honor and privilege to welcome Mr. Chen to the United States Capitol. Like many Americans, I have followed his remarkable journey with great admiration for the courage he and his family have shown. Their example humbles us, it reminds us why we cherish life and freedom so much, and why we work so hard to preserve and protect these fundamental values. Let me also personally thank Mr. Chen and his family for the sacrifices they have made in the cause for human rights, religious freedom, and the rights of the unborn.
“While our economic relationship with China is important, the United States has an obligation to engage with China and press for democratic reforms and improvement in its human rights practices. We cannot remain silent when fundamental human rights are being violated. We cannot remain silent when religious liberty is under attack. And we cannot remain silent regarding China’s reprehensible ‘one-child’ policy.
“When it comes to guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of all her citizens, the Chinese government has a responsibility to do better, and the United States government has a a responsibility to hold them to account. Mr. Chen, thank you for coming today.”
Chen was candid and straightforward in his criticisms of the Chinese regime. “He said the human rights situation in China is deteriorating but change is inevitable as increasing numbers of citizens shed their fears and assert their rights,” the Associated Press reported. “He said equality, justice and freedom do not have borders, and the forces of history toward development and democracy ‘are something no one can stay in the way of.’”
As he has many times, including in an op-ed for the Washington Post, Chen talked about nephew Chen Kegui, “who has been charged with attempted homicide after he fought with local officials who stormed into his father’s house looking for Chen Guangcheng following his escape in late April,”” according to the AP. “Chen said his nephew had used a kitchen knife to defend himself to avoid being beaten to death.”
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