Chen Guangcheng: “I’m Not a Hero,” Must Oppose Forced Abortions

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 15, 2012   |   3:31PM   |   Washington, DC

A second hearing in as many weeks in Congress on the issue of forced abortions saw human rights campaigner Chen Gugnacheng call in again to voice his opinion and talk more about the situation he and his family and supporters face in China.

“I want to talk about what happened to my other family members after I escaped from my home,” he told members of Congress, media outlets, and top human rights activists who testified before the panel today.

Chen talked about thugs who broke into his brother’s home and beat him violently.

“My elder brother was taken away by these thugs without any reason and then they came back and started beating up my nephew and used stakes and violently beat him for three hours. He was bleeding on his head and face,” he said. “This charge against my nephew for intentional homicide is a totally trumped up charge.”

Chen said the homicide charge his nephew faces for warding off guards who stormed his home after Chen escaped his own home detention is “totally absurd, irrational and unreasonable” and a contradiction of Chinese law that allows self-defense. He said the township leader with as many as 40-80 thugs attacked him and now the pattern is repeating against his family.

“My brother was taken away without any reasoning by the authorities,” he said, adding that Chinese officials are faking documents to assist them in persecuted his family and supporters.

Chen said he has not able to communicate with his family any more because their communication devices have been confiscated but said the American Embassy has been communicating with him on a daily basis. He told Congress his family is doing well and his two children are enjoying the modest additional freedom the hospital offers.

“I’m not a hero, I am just doing what my conscience asks me to do. I can’t be silent against these evils against women and children,” he said. “I have been praying every day that this one-child policy will be abolished soon.”

Congressman Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, chaired the hearing and said he is upset the Obama administration isn’t doing more to process the deal it made with the Chinese to supposedly allow Chen to come to the United States to study.

“I say this with all due respect to the President of the United States,” Smith said, adding that he is upset that President Barack Obama had no comment when asked about Chen Guangcheng and said “it comes up” when asked about whether the U.S. presses human rights concerns.

Smith said “Chen stands in solidarity with the women of China,” saying he is a “powerful voice” for women who are victimized by forced abortions and sterilizations.

“This hideous practice has hurt so many women,” said Smith about forced abortions. “There’s no safe place for a dissident in China. It’s an oxymoron; it does not exist. They have myriad ways of exacting revenge.”



The hearing, entitled, “Chen Guangcheng: His Case, Cause, Family, and Those Who are Helping Him,” featured human rights leaders active on Chen’s and other human rights cases in China before an open hearing of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights.

In an unplanned live call-in to a May 3 hearing that Smith was conducting on Chen before the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Chen testified by phone about his concerns. Within hours, the Chinese government announced that Chen could apply to travel to the United States. Chen is currently at a hospital in Beijing, still awaiting necessary travel documents. There is growing international concern about reports that Chinese officials are retaliating against his extended family and supporters.

Sign the Petition: President Obama: Protect Chen Guangcheng

Bob Fu, former political prisoner, Founder and President, ChinaAid Association; Wei Jingsheng, former political prisoner, Founder and Chair, Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition; Reggie Littlejohn, Founder and President, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers; Chai Ling, Tiananmen Square Massacre student activist,  Founder, All Girls Allowed; and Mei Shunping, victim of One Child Policy, testified at the hearing.