Chen Leaves Embassy for Hospital, U.S. Guarantees Safety

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 2, 2012   |   9:25AM   |   Beijing, China

Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese forced abortion opponent, 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. Chen was reportedly pressured as Chinese officials threatened to kill his wife.

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.”

Chen also received a call from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and he thanked her for supporting his case, telling her in patchy English, “I want to kiss you.”

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.



American officials responded by saying they helped Chen because he injured his leg escaping from home confinement. As AP notes:

The officials refused to say if Washington would apologize. One official said that embassy staff acted “lawfully” and in conformity with policy, suggesting that the U.S. does not believe it has anything to apologize for.

Another official would say only that “this was an extraordinary case involving exceptional circumstance; we do not anticipate that it will be repeated.”

Bob Fu, of ChinaAid, an American group that has worked closely with Chen and his supporters in China, said his understanding is that both China and the U.S. want to end negotiations quickly over Chen so they can focus on economic talks that were planned to begin Thursday, before Chen’s escape from the clutches of family planning officials.

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.

Sign the Petition: President Obama: Protect Chen Guangcheng

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, at the time, undisclosed location in Beijing — reportedly the U.S embassy. 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 have 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 watches 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.”