by Steven Ertelt
October 9, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Thirty-four members of Congress have signed onto a letter to President Hu of China asking him to bring about the release of Chen Guangcheng, the country’s leading forced abortion opponent. Chen has been jailed for months following an illegal trial which saw him convicted on bogus charges and his attorneys detained.
Congressman Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, orchestrated the letter to draw attention to China’s destructive family planning policy which allows families to have just one child.
The right to life is the most essential of all human rights, and prosecuting Chen for peacefully defending this right reflects the low value the Chinese government places on human dignity," Franks told LifeNews.com in a press release.
"The inability for citizens such as Chen to dissent indicates the lack of respect for other essential freedoms in China as well," he said.
Chen was sentenced to four years and three months in prison in August 2006 on charges of instigating others to obstruct traffic.
A blind attorney, he was targeted by local officials in his home town of Linyi for exposing a brutal forced abortion and sterilization campaign that saw more than 10,000 people victimized.
Franks told LifeNews.com the jailing of Chen and numerous other human rights abuses make it so China is a poor choice to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, which attempt to foster worldwide unity and human dignity.
"Despite numerous congressional attempts, this communist regime refuses to address the flagrant human rights abuses committed against its people," Franks said.
"China should no longer be treated as an equal partner in world politics, in particular as they prepare to host the 2008 Olympics in Beijing next summer, unless they begin to demonstrate their respect for their international human rights obligations," the congressman added.
Since this letter was sent, China imprisoned Gao Zhisheng, a prominent human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize nominee who had assisted Chen.
Gao was arrested on September 22, following a press conference in which he released a letter to the U.S. Congress expressing his deep concerns over the worsening deterioration of human rights in China ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.