Welcome to Freedom, a press release by Rep.Chris Smith regading Chen Guancheng
Welcome to Freedom by Rep. Chris Smith:
U.S.Representative Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on the arrival of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng at Newark Liberty Airport in the United States:
"After years of enduring physical and psychological torture, imprisonment, and hate, the man, Chen Guangcheng, who defended Chinese women from the crime of forced abortion is finally free," said Smith, who met with Chen after his arrival in the U.S. “America welcomes this extraordinary family with open arms. (click here to watch a May 21 CNN report on the arrival)
"Joined by his equally heroic wife, Yuan Weijing, and their children, the Chens will finally get to rest, recuperate, and recover. His children can now begin the process of healing from emotional trauma no child should ever endure." (Note: Chen has two children only because some disabled persons -- Chen is blind -- are permitted to have a second child.)
"Great human rights leaders are never separated from the noble causes they espoused. Think of Lech Walesa and Solidarity, Nelson Mandela and opposition to apartheid, Aung San Suu Chi and democracy in Burma. Chen's cause is ending China's One Child Policy and forced abortion."
"Not all the Chens are free and safe, however. The Chinese government must immediately end its deplorable retaliation against Chen's family and friends who remain in China."
At two congressional hearings chaired by Smith on May 3 and May 15, (Click here to view video of the May 15 hearing. Click here to watch CSPAN video of Smith's May 3 hearing.) Chen testified by telephone and pleaded for the protection of his extended family -- especially his mother, brother, and nephew -- and friends. Smith chaired an emergency hearing on Chen on October 31, 2011. The congressman nominated Chen for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, along with two other persecuted Chinese human rights advocates—Gao Zhisheng and Liu Xiaobo. Liu won ultimately won the 2010 prize. Since November 2011, Smith has been repeatedly thwarted in his attempts to get a visa to travel to visit Chen by the Chinese government. Smith held an emergency hearing on Chen in Nov. 2011 of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which Smith chairs.
"Over the last several days, several of Chen's relatives and supporters have been arrested and brutally beaten as part of the Chinese government's refocused retaliation. They can't beat him anymore, but they are beating his relatives and friends," Smith said today.
Smith, Chairman of the House panel on human rights, said, "Chen Guangcheng is among the bravest defenders of women’s rights in the world. He defended thousands of women from the ongoing, most egregious and systematic state-sponsored exploitation and abuse of women in human history -- pervasive forced abortion and involuntary sterilization as part of China’s one child per couple policy. He suffered torture, cruel and degrading treatment, unjust incarceration, and multiple beatings as a result."
"The sheer magnitude of this exploitation of women has been largely overlooked and trivialized -- and even enabled -- by many. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has for over thirty years supported, defended, and whitewashed the crimes against women and children Chen struggled to expose. That’s why President Reagan and more recently President Bush defunded the UNFPA. In an indefensible reversal, the Obama Administration has provided approximately $165 million to the UNFPA," Smith said.
Several individuals from Chen’s family who remain in China are vulnerable to retaliation by the Chinese government. A list follows, with the most recent reports of their status:
Wang Jinxiang, Chen Guangcheng’s 78-year-old mother—Chen reported to Voice of America on May 15 that she remained in their village in Shandong province, but is now permitted to leave their home without guard escort. (VOA Chinese, 15 May 12)
Ren Zongju, Chen Guangcheng's sister-in-law, Chen Guangfu's wife, and Chen Kegui's mother. Ren was reportedly detained and then released pending trial on charges of "harboring a criminal," Chen Kegui. (RFA, 8 May 12). http://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/fears-05082012153029.html Liu Fang, Chen Guangcheng's niece-in-law, Chen Kegui’s wife—Liu Fang’s lawyer, Si Weijiang, reported to the Wall Street Journal that Liu is in a safe location, but that local officials from her county are demanding to see her. Si plans to bring another lawyer to meet with the officials, but says, “I refuse to bring Chen [Kegui]’s wife over to see them.” (WSJ, 15 May 12)http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303505504577405741772464640.html
Chen Guangcun, Chen Guangcheng's cousin. Officials reportedly took Chen Guangcun and his son into custody on April 28, 2012. Information on his current whereabouts appears to be unavailable (Chinese Human Rights Defenders, 1 May 12).
Chen Hua, Chen Guangcheng's cousin. Chen Guangcun's son. Officials reportedly took Chen Hua and his father into custody on April 28, 2012. Information on his current whereabouts appears to be unavailable (CHRD, 1 May 12).
Liu Yanping -- Associate of Beijing-based artist and human rights advocate Ai Weiwei. Authorities reportedly detained Liu when she attempted to bring a birthday cake to Chen Guangcheng's son at Chaoyang hospital on May 4. Liu reported on her Twitter account that authorities released her after 9 hours (Twitter, 4 May 12). https://twitter.com/#!/duyanpili/status/198483221674078209
Teng Biao —Beijing-based lawyer, human rights advocate, and supporter of Chen Guangcheng. Teng reported to Voice of America that he was expelled from Beijing on May 13, that he is temporarily staying in northeast China, and that state security officials warned him not to get involved in Chen Guangcheng’s case and not to accept media interviews.