The status of whether Chen Guangcheng, the blind attorney who is the leading opponent of forced abortions in China, is dead or alive is still unknown. But one human rights activist says the pressure China has faced since the initial reports is paying dividends.
Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, informed LifeNews on October 7 that ominous reports regarding blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng had emerged and, according to Radio Free Asia, Chinese authorities detained a group of at least nine human rights activists trying to visit Chen. Many members of the group were cut off from communication and, according to a report by Canyu, Shandong authorities shot at these activists. Voice of America reports that villagers told it “Chen is dead already,” but the media outlet is attempting to verify that claim.
“We are alarmed at the report that villagers are saying that Chen is already dead,” Littlejohn told LifeNews. “If Chen is dead, then the Chinese Communist Party is fully responsible for killing him through torture, denial of medical treatment and slow starvation. If Chen is alive, we urgently demand that he and his family be released immediately and unconditionally, for medical evaluation and treatment.”
Yesterday, Littlejohn said Chen’s status is still uncertain.
“We have received some ominous reports that Chen may no longer be alive. We hope that this is not true, although these reports certainly communicate the seriousness of Chen’s situation,” she said.
“Since the report of Chen’s possible death went out, a campaign has been building inside China, with many brave people attempting to visit his village, despite the fact that they are routinely beaten and detained,” Littlejohn explained. “Also, several prominent intellectuals have voiced support for Chen, and an article in the state-run Global Times urged the Chinese Communist Party to be more transparent concerning Chen.”
“Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and China Aid have been spearheading the campaign to free Chen in the West. It was reported yesterday that Chen’s six-year-old daughter has finally been allowed to go to school, so the pressure inside China and around the world is having an impact,” Littlejohn continued. “Chen was jailed, tortured and is now near death, because he exposed the truth about forced abortion in China. That’s exactly what Women’s Rights Without Frontiers is doing, and we are all the more determined to continue, because of the sacrifice Chen has made.”
Chen exposed the systematic use of forced abortion and involuntary sterilization in implementing China’s One Child Policy. Time Magazine named him in its list of “2006′s Top 100 People Who Shape Our World,” in the category of “Heroes and Pioneers.” He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Earlier this year, the House of Representatives unanimously approved an amendment to its appropriations bill that provides support for Chen Guangcheng, the blind attorney who has campaigned against forced abortions in China. Chen, as LifeNews.com has repeatedly profiled, was jailed for years after officials produced bogus charges. Since his release from prison, Chen and his family have been placed under house arrest and prevented from accessing the outside world and obtaining proper medical care. Human rights groups have been pressing Chen’s case with lawmakers in Congress and got help from pro-life Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey.
Smith proposed a successful amendment in support of Chen and his wife that lawmakers added to the State Department 2012 appropriation bill.
Chen exposed the fact that there were 130,000 forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations in Linyi County in 2005. The Chinese Communist Party imprisoned Chen for four years and three months and has kept him and his family under strict house arrest since September, 2010. His health has been declining because of malnutrition, intestinal illness, repeated torture and the denial of medical treatment.