China Threatened to Kill Chen Guangcheng’s Wife to Secure Deal

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 2, 2012   |   10:25AM   |   Washington, DC

Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese forced abortion opponent, was reportedly pressured to leave the U.S. Embassy and accept the deal the United States struck with China to release Chen from its temporary protection. Now, Chen reportedly wants to leave China with his family, as he is worried about their safety.

As LifeNews reported, Chen has left the U.S. Embassy and headed to a local hospital for medical treatment following his years of house arrest by family planning and Communist Party officials. Late last week, Chen fled his hometown after escaping and supporters drove him to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing after they were unable to keep him safe in homes in the Asian nation’s capital. When Chinese authorities attempted to apprehend him, he fled to the U.S. Embassy for protection.

In a new deal between the United States and China, Chen has left to a local hospital and is reportedly under American protection, as U.S officials have guaranteed his safety. U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke escorted Chen, according to an AP report, to the Chaoyang Hospital and, on the way there, Chen called his lawyer, Li Jinsong, who said Chen told him: “‘I’m free. I’ve received clear assurances.’”

However, Bob Fu, the president of ChinaAid, a U.S.-based human rights group that has worked closely with Chen and his Chinese supporters, says it has viewed relevant information released by the Chinese government regarding Chen’s release and says it was coerced.

Fu also has received phone calls from Assistant Secretary Mike Posner who is traveling with Secretary Clinton in Beijing for the economic talks taking place starting tomorrow. He tells LifeNews that Posner indicates he has been accompanying and traveling with Chen’s family today in Beijing, including a hospital visit. He said Posner reiterated the US commitment for the Chen’s family’s safety and freedom and to reassure that the agreement reached by both governments can be followed through so that “Chen’s work, function and legal advocacy can be maintained.”

Yet, ChinaAid also received reports from reliable sources that Chen’s decision for departure from the U.S. Embassy was done reluctantly because “serious threats to his immediate family members were made bythe  Chinese government” if Chen refused to accept the Chinese government’s offer.

“And relevant reports show unfortunately the U.S. side ‘has abandoned Mr Chen,'” Fu said.

“We are deeply concerned about this sad development if the reports about Chen’s involuntary departure (from U.S. Embassy) are true,” Fu said.

“While we understand Chen’s wish all along was to live as a free man in China, to seek political asylum was not the ideal option as he did not want to be an observer of the fight for reform and the rule of law,” said Fu. “He has the admiration of the world right now and that will perhaps help keep him safe in the short-term, but I am fearful what  could happen if the world loses interest. The government sees him as a trouble-maker and a threat to their legitimacy, a very serious concern in the aftermath of the Bo Xilai scandal.The free world has a moral imperative and obligation to ensure Chen’s protection, his fight for freedom is one shared by us all.”

Fu said his group calls upon both the Chinese and U.S. governments to release details of the negotiation deal about Chen and his family so that the international community can hold relevant parties accountable.

Sign the Petition: President Obama: Protect Chen Guangcheng

Beijing activist Zeng Jinyan confirmed the pressure on Chen in an interview with AP, saying the forced abortion opponent agreed to stay in China only to protect his family after receiving threats that his wife would be beaten to death if he left the country. She talked with Chen via Skype and, as AP reports, “said Chen told her that he wanted to go abroad but was forced to accept a deal to remain in China and go to law school in order to protect his family. Zeng says Chen was told his wife would be beaten to death if he didn’t accept, but she didn’t say who made the threat.”

And Chinese activist, Zeng Jinyan, has become a trusted source of information surrounding Chen, clarified that Chen asked to “meet with” Hillary Clinton, not “kiss” her as some media outlets reported.

She also says the Chinese government used Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing as a threat for him to leave the embassy and that Chen also attempted to make contact with The Congressional Executive Committe on China, but was unable to.

“Zeng Jinyan said she spoke by phone with Chen and his wife while he was in the hospital. A disappointed-sounding Chen told her that his wife’s life had been threatened, she said,” another report says.

UPDATE:  The Obama administration says the deal was the best that could be achieved given Chen’s desire to stay in China rather than seek political asylum abroad.

Clinton said in a statement that she was “pleased that we were able to facilitate Chen Guangcheng’s stay and departure from the U.S. Embassy in a way that reflected his choices and our values. I was glad to have the chance to speak with him today and to congratulate him on being reunited with his wife and children.”

“Mr. Chen has a number of understandings with the Chinese government about his future, including the opportunity to pursue higher education in a safe environment,” she added. “Making these commitments a reality is the next crucial task.”

The New York Times says the Obama administration is denying that Chen’s wife was threatened.

An American official quickly denied that account. The official said Mr. Chen was told that his wife, Yuan Weijing, who had been brought to Beijing by the Chinese authorities while Mr. Chen was in the American embassy, would not be allowed to remain in the capital unless Mr. Chen left the embassy to see her. She would be sent back to Mr. Chen’s home village in Shandong, where no one could guarantee her safety.

“No one told him his wife would be harmed,” the official said. “We did tell him that she would be shipped back to Shandong and that we would be unable to help her there.”

Before allegations of coercion, AP provided further details on the arrangements between the U.S. and Chinese concerning Chen’s freedom:

As part of the agreement that ended the fraught, behind-the-scenes standoff, U.S. officials said China agreed to let Mr. Chen receive a medical checkup and be reunited with his family at the hospital; his wife and two children joined him there Wednesday afternoon. He would then be relocated to a safe place in China where he could study at university — all demands activists said Mr. Chen had raised.

Clinton, in a statement, said Mr. Chen’s exit from the embassy “reflected his choices and our values” and said the U.S. would monitor the assurances Beijing gave. “Making these commitments a reality is the next crucial task,” she said.

Seeking to save face internationally, China asked the U.S. to apologize for keeping Chen at the embassy, investigate how he got there, and hold responsible those who brought him there.


“What the U.S. side has done has interfered in the domestic affairs of China, and the Chinese side will never accept it,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said in a statement.

Chen has been reluctant to leave China — preferring to reform the nation and its controversial one-child policy from within and saying that he worries his influence and ability to help the Chinese people would be reduced if he left the country.

Chen and his supporters in China had not originally intended for Chen to go to the American Embassy in Beijing. They initially put him up in various homes of backers living in the Beijing area until family planning and Communist Party officials found out about his location and chased his backers in a vehicle — forcing them to make the decision to head for the embassy.

According to a Reuters report:

But by April 26 authorities in Beijing had been informed of the escape and they increased surveillance of prominent activists and potential supporters of Mr Chen. When a fellow activist, Guo Yunshan, was pursued in his car with Mr Chen inside, the decision was made to deliver Mr Chen to the US embassy, Mr Hu told the Herald.

”It was absolutely not a pre-conceived plan,” Mr Hu said. ”It wasn’t that he wanted to go to the embassy once he escaped, or once he got to Beijing.

”It was when we were trying to get him somewhere safe for him to stay that we decided the embassy was the best place. This was a very dangerous situation.’

”He was adamant that he would not apply for political asylum with any country,” Mr Guo told Reuters. ”He certainly wants to stay in China, and demand redress for the years of illegal persecution in Shandong and continue his efforts for Chinese society.”

Mr Hu said he had not been in contact with Mr Chen since he himself was detained for questioning by police for 24 hours on Friday. He said Mr Chen had ”clearly” told him he wanted to stay in China, adding that Mr Chen could have made life much easier for himself if he bowed to authorities before his arrest seven years ago.

”He thinks that in the next few years China can do a lot of things and we can make history together,” he said.

Chen, a blind attorney, had been in captivity at his home after spending years in prison after he was convicted on trumped-up charges engineered by family planning and Communist Party officials for retaliation against his exposing a massive brutal campaign in his local county involving the victimization of thousands in forced abortions and sterilizations.

In a daring rescue attempt, human rights campaigners helped Chen escape his home confinement and took him to an undisclosed location in Beijing — reportedly the U.S embassy — but the Obama administration has given no indication of whether it will provide Chen with political asylum or other diplomatic protection. Leading pro-life campaigners and human rights groups are concerned that if Chen is not protected, Chinese officials may illegally detain him and send him back to prison, home detention or may take his life.

China’s state-run media has said absolutely nothing about the daring escape Chen Guangcheng made from his house arrest, where family planning and Communist Party officials had kept him detained at home for exposing forced abortions. Other media outlets have glossed over the forced abortion components of Chen’s imprisonment and house arrest.

As the world watched the plight of Chen Guangcheng and wonders whether President Barack Obama will have the United States offer him long-term diplomatic protection, documents Chen Guangcheng compiled place the focus squarely on why China subjected him to years of house arrest:  brutal forced abortions.

Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, has released a compendium of Chen Guangcheng’s field notes about forced abortion and sterilization in China and the stories the blind attorney compiled are shocking, even for those familiar with the forced abortion abuses that take place as a result of China’s one-child policy.

“In the astonishment surrounding Chen Guangcheng’s extraordinary escape from house arrest, let us not forget why he was arrested,” Littlejohn told LifeNews. “In 2006, Chen exposed the Chinese government’s systematic, massive use of forced abortion and involuntary sterilization to enforce its “One Child Policy.’”

WRWF obtained a copy of Chen’s field notes and has released the first English translation of them.

“A member of Chen’s team, human rights attorney Teng Biao, drafted this 2005 investigative report into coercive family planning in Linyi City, Shandong Province,” Littlejohn explained. “The report contains extensive witness statements from cases Chen and his team were investigating before Chen was jailed.”