Chen Guangcheng, blind opponent of forced abortion and sterilization, escaped 19 month house arrest by Chinese official on April 22. Many of you already know about Cheng as he has been all over the news the last days, and some of people have been following this heroic man’s story other the years.
Brief Background: Chen Guangcheng was sentenced to four years in prison after having exposed China’s ‘family planning’ work of forced abortions and non-voluntary sterilizations. Chen exposed that over 130,000 FORCED abortions and sterilizations took place in Linyi County in 2005 alone (this is just ONE county in all of China) and he shared how men and women were brutally treated to accomplish ‘family planning’. Chen served four years in prison, was released in 2010 and subsequently placed under house arrest with his family. Since then, Chen and his family have been victims of extreme torture, isolation, while medical attention has been withheld (read about some of the horrific torture).
Chen’s home was surrounded by 22 guards at all times and the village was sealed by even more guards. Chen had no communication with the outside world and he and his family were severely wounded from torture by Chinese officials. Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, who has worked closely with helping Chen and his family the last couple of years, shared a little of Chen’s escape. A young woman named He Peirong, who has headed up the movement to free Chen in China, assisted Chen in his escape.
Reggie Littlejohn reported details of what happened after speaking with Peirong via Skype after the escape:
According to Peirong, Chen spent months on his back, pretending to be near death, so that his guards would relax their vigilance. Then on April 22, with pinpoint accuracy in terms of timing, he scaled a wall and ran for his life, taking several wrong turns and falling into a river because of his blindness. Peirong drove 20 hours to meet Chen and fooled the village guards into letting her in. She disguised herself as a courier. Then she drove Chen another eight hours – still wet from his fall in the river – to safety in Beijing. Their plan was so masterfully executed that the authorities did not realize Chen was gone for four days.
Once authorities discovered that Chen was missing, the reprisals began. The Chinese Communist Party violently detained Chen’s older brother and nephew; his wife, children and mother are at risk as well.
Reggie went on to share that she was in contact by Peirong via Skype after the escape, but was later not able to get ahold of Peirong. In their last conversation Peirong shared her fear for Chen’s family and her own safely.
Reggie said, “Peirong knew that the price of securing Chen’s freedom might be her own.”
Peirong has since been been detained and no word has been heard of her since.
We must recognize the fact that Chen’s escape, surrounded by 22 guards and being blind, is a true miracle. This man is fearless in the face of wicked oppression. He has exposed the brutality of China’s One Child policy and he, along with family and friends, have been brutally tortured because he refuses to be silenced as China allows these women and babies to be tortured and killed, as the United States turns a blind eye to the most heinous of human rights abuse.
After Chen’s escape, he fled to the U.S. embassy after days of moving from home to home. The Obama administration claimed to be working with the Chinese government to protect Chen; however, Chen left the embassy under an agreement with U.S. officials over concern for threats surrounding Chen’s family. Wednesday night Chen was abandoned at a hospital and the U.S. officials were nowhere to be found. When asked by channel 4 if he was at the hospital for his health he answered:
No. I came because of an agreement. I was worried about the safety of my family. A gang of them have taken over our house, sitting in our room and eating at our table, waving thick sticks around. They’ve turned our home into a prison, with seven cameras and electric fence all around.
While things are unclear at this time concerning the Obama Administration’s true involvement, it is hoped that they will be honest and transparent in providing Chen and his family with protection.
Hillary Clinton is now in China and nothing has been said thus about providing assylum for Chen. While statements were released yesterday expressing Chen and his family’s safety, the stories continue to contradict each other.
Thursday morning Chen told CNN “I would like to say to (President Obama):
Please do everything you can to get our whole family out(of China).” He told the Daily Beast, “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.”
The United States and the Obama Administration’s morality is being challenged, and it may appear that they’re caving to Chinese pressures. Congress is to hold an emergency hearing today Concerning Chen (you would think they would have done this sooner given that they have been briefed of the torture and abuse of Chen and his family for more than seven years) . . .
Chen and his family are in grave danger. They’re terrified of what will become of them if they stay in China. Hillary Clinton needs to do what is right with regard to human dignity. Playing games and ignoring Chen’s cries for help speaks volumes of the Obama administration’s silent and backhanded support for China’s forced abortion and sterilization policies.
Ultimately, the issue at hand is the violation of human rights by the contination of China’s One Child policy. Chen was right in fighting and exposing this brutal blood bath, and pro-choice Hillary must do the same.
I strongly encourage you to voice your support for Chen and his family and challenge the U.S. government to bring Chen, his family, and He Peirong to the U.S. immediately (even if on Hillary’s plane).
Three things you can do:
- Sign petition to President Obama’s administration.
- Spread the word; forward this article and petition to every person you think would support the right of women to have control of their own bodies, and those that oppose torture and suppression of truth.
- Pray May God protect Chen, his family, and all his friends who have supported him.
May we always stand for what is true and right, and not turn away because of attempts to silence our voice by the government.
Stay tuned as this story is developing quickly. I will be posting periodic updates on Chen and his family here. Also, follow me on Twitter for most current updates @Timmerie
Update May 3, 6:00 p.m. – Video during emergency congressional hearing this afternoon Chen was put on speaker phone and addressed congress:
This video made me cry. This man is persavering and just wants a little bit of rest before jumping back in to opposing forced abortion and sterilization. It was beautifult to hear U.S. representatives say they're praying for Chen! Read and watch the video about Christian Bale's attempt to visit Chen in December.
Update May 4, 1:00 p.m. – Chen's rescuer He Peirong (also known as Pearl) was released from Chinese government's custody. Pearl shared of her captivity and fear while being detained, “I was very concerned, but once the thing went public, I was no longer worried.” Reggie Littlejohn of Women's Rights Without Frontiers testified before the U.S. congress Thursday on Pearl's behalf and representatice Chris Smith took immediate action to help release Pearl. Reggie Littlejohn made a strong point from first hand experience today after Pearl's release when she said:
Some say that quiet, back door diplomacy is the way to deal with the detention of Chinese human rights defenders. But human rights activists have found that high profile, public pressure is far more effective.
Praying for Chen,