Chinese Forced Abortion Opponent Faces Persecution After Prison Release
by Steven Ertelt
September 13, 2010
Linyi, China (LifeNews.com) — Chen Guangcheng, the blind attorney who stood up for thousands of men and women subjected to forced abortions and sterilizations in his city, may have been released from prison but now he and his family face persecution. They have been subjected to house arrest and there are concerns about his health.
While in prison for over four years after a conviction on false charges in a trial where his attorneys were not permitted to attend, Chen was brutally tortured and denied proper care.
Though he is out of prison, Chen’s freedom is not yet complete. His family has been monitored and even harassed by public officials during his imprisonment.
"According to reliable sources, the authorities have threatened Chen and his wife that they will throw any family member in prison at any time, if they fail to cooperate," officials with the human rights group ChinaAid said.
"Chen’s wife Yuan Weijing, his daughter, and his elder brother were not allowed to pick him up from prison. Instead, they had to wait to greet him when he reached his home," the group noted. "Now he and his family are being closely monitored by more than 20 policemen surrounding his home. No one has been allowed out of the house today, even for shopping, though his wife was able to buy vegetables the day before."
Reggie Littlejohn, ChinaAid’s One Child Policy expert and the founder of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, said Chen was right to speak out against the brutal enforcement of the one-child policy. He said Chen’s imprisonment was the result of local officials who face enormous pressure to enforce the family planning provisions.
"The use of forced abortion and coerced sterilization in Linyi County and elsewhere may be the result of pressure placed on officials to meet target or quotas set for their provinces to meet population goals," he said.
Because he spoke out against these draconian measures, Chen was imprisoned in August 2006. He was charged with "damaging public property and obstructing traffic" at a rally on his behalf that he did not attend.
Meanwhile, a leading pro-life member of Congress also known for drawing attention to human rights causes has spoken out about Chen’s situation.
"The prison release of Chen Guangcheng, one of China’s most heroic human rights defenders, is good news but only a step in the right direction," Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey said on Friday.
Smith said he is concerned about the home confinement Chen’s family faces — especially in light of his medical condition.
"I appeal to the Chinese government to let Chen move about freely and ensure that he has access to the care he needs," he told LifeNews.com.
Smith called for an end to the one-child family planning policy that punishes those who have more than one child with forced abortions, sterilizations, imprisonment, fines, potential job loss, and various human rights abuses.
Time Magazine named Chen Guangcheng as one of "2006’s Top 100 People Who Shape Our World," in the category of "Heroes and Pioneers." He was also nominated for the Nobel peace prize.
Related web sites:
Interview with Chen from Radio Free Asia
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