Forced abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng is seeking political asylum in the United States after he was released from the U.S. Embassy yesterday only to discover his family had been threatened and his life is in potential danger.
Chen is now seeking help from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is in China for economic talks, and told The Daily Beat in an interview that he hopes she will help him and his family go to the United States. Members of Congress will hold an emergency hearing Thursday on the situation
“My fervent hope is that it would be possible for me and my family to leave for the U.S. on Hillary Clinton’s plane,” he says.
Chen also says he feels the Obama administration didn’t provide him with all of the information needed to make an informed decision about his future. As the Daily beast reports:
When U.S. officials escorted him out of the U.S. embassy shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday, Chen thought he’d extracted a promise that at least one of them would stay with him at the hospital, he said. “Many Americans were with me while I checked into the hospital and doctors examined me. Lots of them,” he told me from his hospital bed, where he’s being treated for broken bones in one foot, an injury sustained when he fell after climbing a wall during his daring escape from house arrest late last month. “But when I was brought to the hospital room, they all left. I don’t know where they went.”
The hours ticked by, and Chen became more and more agitated. Even though he’d originally told friends and embassy officials that he wished to remain in China, now he wanted to leave. “I hope to seek medical treatment in the U.S. with my family, and then I want to rest,” he said. “As for the future, we’ll deal with that in the future.”
As dinnertime came and went, he and his wife and two young children, who had traveled to Beijing, had nothing to eat. Their 6-year-old daughter began crying from the hunger pangs. “I kept asking the hospital personnel for some food, but it never came. I asked many times.” Finally, around 9 p.m., some food was sent in after friends contacted American officials for help. But Chen says his numerous attempts to reach the U.S. embassy directly during those dark hours failed: “I tried to phone the embassy three or four times last night, but nobody answered.” As of Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Beijing time, he said he has had no contact with American officials since after he entered his hospital room.
At the embassy, Chen said he came under tremendous pressure from American officials—“not those from the embassy but others “—to leave the diplomatic facility as quickly as possible. From the very beginning, he said, the assumption was that he would stay in China. “I had no information, I got no phone calls from friends, I was isolated,” he told me, his voice trembling. “Then I heard about the threat that my wife would be sent back home to Shandong if I didn’t leave the embassy. So I left.”
While Chen is seeking a way out of China, Clinton is coming under fire for essentially ignoring Chen during his speech to the Chinese at today’s talks.
“Clinton, who is in China now, completely ignored Chen in her remarks as part of the so-called U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. She did not mention him once,” the Weekly Standard reports. “Clinton briefly mentioned human rights, however, but merely in a vague, passive way.”
Clinton said: “Now of course, as part of our dialogue, the United States raises the importance of human rights and fundamental freedoms because we believe that all governments do have to answer to citizens’ aspirations for dignity and the rule of law, and that no nation can or should deny those rights,” Clinton said, without bringing up specific cases where the Chinese government violated the rights of its citizens. “As President Obama said this week, a China that protects the rights of all its citizens will be a stronger and more prosperous nation, and of course, a stronger partner on behalf of our common goals.”
Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute, was critical of the Obama administration and its handling of the situation.
“The Obama administration regards the blind Chinese human rights activist as a speed bump on the Clinton-Geithner Road Show to China,” he said. “They are wrong. His fate is far more important than hawking American treasury bonds. In fact, he may be the spark that starts a prairie fire.”
“Chen Guangcheng and I have been fighting the same battle for years,” says Mosher. “I am an eyewitness to forced abortions, coercive sterilizations and infanticide in China. Chen is the blind attorney who documented 7,000 cases of forced abortions in one small part of Shantung province, and sought justice for the women and children thus victimized.”
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council says the Obama administration actually makes the forced abortions Chen uncovered possible.
“While the global reaction has been severe, China isn’t the only country that has to worry about its reputation. As recently as November, Secretary Clinton scolded Chinese officials for their human rights abuses–which, regrettably, the Obama administration helps make possible,” he said. “Just this year, American taxpayers funneled $35 million to the United Nation’s Population Fund (UNFPA), an organization that openly supports policies that Chen has sacrificed his safety fighting.”
“Now that the U.S. and China are in an uncomfortable showdown over Chen’s treatment, the spotlight will soon be on the administration’s policy. If Secretary Clinton tries to sidestep the issue, it puts the world’s greatest defender of freedom in an awkward position,” Perkins added. “On the other hand, if the administration tries to speak about Chen’s human rights, it would have to renounce the repressive policies that America has indirectly funded. There is no greater test of our country’s sincerity.”
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.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is coming under criticism from Speaker John Boehner and others, who say they are concerned about Chen’s situation and reports showing Chen may have felt pressure to leave the Embassy after learning of threats against his family. Boehner issued a statement in response to reports showing the Obama Administration released forced abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng from the U.S. Embassy despite threats against him and his family.
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.
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 initially 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.
What is not in dispute is the fact that the Chines government has subjected men and women to forced abortions, sterilziations, home detention and imprisonment, taken away their jobs and benefits and fined them for violating the nation’s one child policy. 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.”