Pro-Life Congressional Leader Highlights Chinese Abortion Abuses Ahead of Olympics

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 3, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Congressional Leader Highlights Chinese Abortion Abuses Ahead of Olympics

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 3
, 2008

Beijing, China (LifeNews.com) — One of the leading pro-life members of Congress who has long championed the rights of the Chinese people who are subjected to forced abortions and sterilizations under China’s one-child policy, is speaking out in the weeks leading up to the Summer Olympics. Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey says more attention should be focused on the problems.

Smith told LifeNews.com that the United States and the international community needs to speak out more for political prisoners like Chen Guangcheng.

Chen is the attorney who was working on a class action lawsuit for thousands of people in Linyi, China who became victims of forced abortions and sterilizations or lost jobs and homes in a massive population control crackdown.

Smith spent four days on a human rights mission to China and made his comments from Beijing.

“With just weeks to go to the Olympics, we join our voice to those of millions of Chinese and appeal to the Chinese Government to free its prisoners of conscience, stop the indiscriminant harassment and arrests of dissidents and respect fundamental human rights,” he said.

Smith, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a leading human rights advocate in Congress, said he and pro-life rank Wolf of Virginia went to China to bring attention to the most recent government crackdown and to work for its reversal as the world starts to focus more on China and the Olympics.

“Tragically, the Olympics has triggered a massive crackdown designed to silence and put beyond reach all those whose views differ from the official ‘harmonious’ government line,” he said.

Smith reported that the “crackdown” and systematic harassment was even evident in his own schedule of events in China.

“A meeting we had scheduled for Sunday night with three human rights lawyers never occurred as the three lawyers were threatened and either taken away or placed under house arrest by the police,” he said. “Similarly, after we met with senior house church pastor, Zhang Mingxuan, he too was placed under house arrest.”

Meanwhile, Smith told LifeNews.com that he announced an award for Chen from the National Endowment for Democracy.

“Chen, a blind activist, is in prison in Linyi for bringing a class-action lawsuit against the government on behalf of several women who had been severely and irreparably harmed by the one-child-per-couple policy which relies on forced abortion, ruinous fines and other forms of coercion to achieve its goals,” he said.

Smith has noted in the past that the one child policy is a human rights abuse that not only kills children and abuses women, but is also becoming an increasing factor in the rise in human trafficking of North Korean women into China, where they are forced into prostitution, marriage or forced labor.

The congressmen presented Chinese government officials with a list of 734 political prisoners who languish in jail because they promoted democracy, religious freedom or other human rights.

Smith said the pair gave the list to Ambassador Li Zhaoxing, Chairman of the NPC’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

“We presented him with a list of 734 political prisoners, and respectfully appealed to him and his government to work for their release,” Smith said.

Smith expressed the hope that his trip would intensify media attention on the suffering of human rights advocates and other victims of the abuses of the Chinese government, and galvanize international pressure on the Government to adhere to international human rights standards.

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