The House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously approved an amendment to its appropriations bill yesterday 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.
Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, told LifeNews: “We congratulate Rep. Chris Smith on his leadership in sponsoring this far-reaching amendment, which urges the Chinese government to stop harassing the Chen family, to release them from house arrest, and to arrange for immediate medical treatment.”
“It further urges the Obama administration to arrange diplomatic visits to the Chen family. Beyond this, it highlights the tragedy of forced abortion and coercive family planning in China. This amendment comes just in time, as Chen’s health is frail and deteriorating rapidly,” Littlejohn added.
Bob Fu, President of China Aid, also weighed in and said: “This historic amendment also raises the issue of the harassment, arrest, disappearance and disbarment of Chinese human rights lawyers and defenders.”
“We hope to see the Obama administration take effective action on behalf of Chen and other human rights defenders who are suffering incalculable harm as a result of their courage to stand up for human rights in China. We look forward to the day when Chen Guangcheng, Gao Zhisheng, and other Chinese human rights heroes are free,” he continued.
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and China Aid are spearheading a campaign to free Chen, whose health is in serious jeopardy because of repeated beatings and malnutrition he suffers in house detention.
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 is declining because of malnutrition, intestinal illness, repeated torture and the denial of medical treatment.
In a letter recently smuggled out of China Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing, said she was worried about his survival. Yuan has also been tortured and denied medical treatment.
The World Youth Alliance and the Jubilee Campaign are partnering with Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and China Aid in the effort to free Chen.
The amendment, provided to LifeNews from Congressman Smith’s office, can be read here.