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Chen tells Congressional Subcommittee “I am not a hero”

by | May 16, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Chen Guancheng

The scene could not have been more dramatic, or more chilling. Pro-life and human rights champion Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) was holding a hearing on the fate of Chen Guangcheng, who has paid a fierce price for revealing China’s brutal policy of forced abortion and forced sterilization when for the second time in twelve days, Chen called in via speakerphone. A fellow human rights activist, Bob Fu, translated.

In the Associated Press’s words Smith, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, “and the witnesses who were testifying gathered on the dais and huddled around the microphone to listen to Chen’s crackling voice for about 25 minutes and pay tributes to him.”

Smith asked Chen whether he had anything he would like to tell the U.S. people. Chen responded

“I want to extend my gratitude and thankfulness to all those who care and love my family and myself, and our situation, especially the American people who show their care about the quality of justice as a universal value and I’m very grateful to all of you,” Chen answered. “I am not a hero. I’m just doing what my conscience asks me to do. I cannot be silent when facing these evils against women and children.”

The AP reported that Chen told the subcommittee

“how Chinese government thugs raiding his family’s home at midnight ‘and started beating them violently.’ He called a charge against his nephew for intentional homicide ‘trumped up,’ and said it was ‘totally absurd, irrational, and unreasonable’ to be accused of committing that crime against intruders in his own home.

“’My elder brother was taken away by these thugs without any reasoning and then they came back and starting beating up my nephew.’”

Chen added, “What has been done by these public security officers is a total violation against the Chinese’s own constitution and Chinese criminal law and those charges against my nephew is in contradiction of Chinese law as well.”

After four years of imprisonment on trumped up charges, Chen was under house arrest for 19 months before escaping April 22 and eventually making his way to the American embassy in Beijing. He sought medical treatment in a nearby hospital—and thus leaving the safety of the embassy–when he said he was told that Chinese officials would kill his wife if he remained in the embassy.

He has been invited to study in the United States, but is still awaiting an exit permit

“Eleven days later, Mr. Chen is still in the same hospital room, with his wife and two children under de facto house arrest,”  Smith said. “Although Mr. Chen is under the impression that his application for a passport was made last Sunday when he was visited by a Chinese official, and under Chinese law blind persons are supposed to be able to apply orally for travel documents, he has not been notified of any further action on the application.”

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Categories: China