Friday, May 4, 2012

Chen Guangcheng addresses US Congressional Hearing by telephone

Congressman Chris Smith reports that the blind Chinese human rights defender Chen Guangcheng  surprised the world by testifying via telephone before the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, joining other human rights organizations around the world decrying human rights abuses associated with the Chinese government's brutal one-child policy that includes forced abortions and forced sterilizations, at a hearing held today by Commission Chairman Chris Smith (NJ-04).
Due to a timely phone call, Chen, who last week found refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Bejing to highlight his and his families' suffering at the hands of the Chinese government, testified at the hearing by speaking through a translator—former Chinese prisoner Bob Fu of ChinaAid.

"I'm really afraid for my other family members lives," Chen said from his hospital room. "I want to meet with Secretary Clinton, I hope I can get more help from her. I also want to thank her face-to-face. I really feared for my other family members' lives."

Chen testified that his home has numerous video cameras surrounding it and an electric fence. Chen said he wanted "to make the request to have my freedom of travel guaranteed." He told Smith he wanted to come to the United States with his family, Smith said.

"The thing of most concern right now is the safety of my mother and brother; I really want to know what's going on with them," Chen said.

Smith told Chen that the hearing was being held with high hopes for his wellbeing.

"You have a panel of people who have just testified on your behalf, all of whom deeply, deeply care about you and your family as well as those who helped you," Smith said. "I think the word is getting out and there are members of National and International press here, that your case is the test, the test, of Chinese commitment to protect you, which they've given—we're very dubious about those assurances—but also the test of the United States as to whether or not human rights really do matter. Your plea that the Secretary of State who did not meet with you in the embassy, go to your hospital room and meet with you. You and your family and your supporters need to be on a plane coming to the United States for, as you put it, that rest that you so richly deserve."