French Presidential Candidate Questions China on Jailed Abortion Opponent

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 9, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

French Presidential Candidate Questions China on Jailed Abortion Opponent Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 9
, 2007

Beijing, China ( — A French presidential candidate raised the issue of the jailing of an activist against forced abortions during a visit to China on Monday. Segolene Royal said China’s putting Chen Guangcheng, journalists and attorneys in jail was a violation of international human rights conventions.

Royal is trying to become the first female president of France in this year’s elections and is the front runner to succeed conservative President Jacques Chirac, according to polls.

During her visit she handed top Chinese officials a list of five people she says are wrongly jailed there.

The list includes Chen, who brought international exposure to a brutal forced abortion and sterilization campaign in the eastern city of Linyi, where more than 10,000 women and their families were victimized.

Jean-Pierre Mignard, an attorney who is part of Royal’s visiting delegation, told the Strait Times newspaper that "Royal has demanded answers on what has happened to" the jailed citizens.

He said Royal views the imprisonments as a violation of human rights accords and noted that she gave the list of people she’s concerned about to Zhang Zhijun, a leading Communist official in the Communist Party’s international department.

Royal later met Vice-President and senior Communist Party official Zeng Qinghong.

Last month, a Linyi court upheld the bogus sentence against Chen, who was charged with destroying property and disrupting traffic in a protest he never attended.

Chen, a blind attorney, was convicted in August and sentenced to more than four years in prison for the supposed crimes but a retrial of the case saw the same persecution as before.

After he was convicted the first time, an appeals court overturned the conviction, citing inadequate evidence and sent it back to the lower court in Yinan County. That court upheld its original conviction.