Reggie Littlejohn Receives “Spirit of Tiananmen” Award, Honors Chen Guangcheng

Reggie Littlejohn stands with friends from China Aid's Los Angeles office, after receiving the "Spirit of Tiananmen" award.

Reggie Littlejohn spoke at the Commemoration of the 23rd Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, hosted by the Visual Artists Guild of Los Angeles.  Speaking in honor of Chen Guangcheng, she then found to her surprise that she was the recipient of the coveted “Spirit of Tiananmen” Award.  Here are her remarks:

I am greatly humbled to speak to you in honor of one of the greatest and most noble heroes of our time – one of the human rights giants of the twenty-first century, the Gandhi of China — activist Chen Guangcheng.  Blinded by a childhood illness, Chen taught himself law and at first advocated for the rights of the disabled.  The Chinese Communist Party ignored him until he began to advocate for the rights of women who were victims of the massive, systematic use of forced abortion and sterilization in his city – Linyi.  Chen bravely filed a class action lawsuit on their behalf, and that’s when all hell broke loose for him and his family.  It is fitting that we should honor him on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.  The same brutal regime that massacred students on Tiananmen Square also has brutalized Chen and his family for seven years.  Here is our  video, Free Chen Guangcheng!

Chen miraculously escaped from illegal house detention.  Chen has no religious affiliation, yet he said, “God rescued me.”  I have been advocating for Chen’s release since 2008 – five times in the U.S. Congress, twice at the European Parliament, and at the British and Irish Parliaments as well.  I have also briefed the White House, State Department and Vatican about Chen and One Child Policy issues.

Women’s Rights Without Frontiers has been leading the international coalition to free Chen.

We released the Chen Guangcheng Report in Chinese on Chen’s 40th birthday, and in English at a Congressional Hearing on December 6, 2011.

We collected more than 11,000 signatures on our Free Chen petition.

We also have 500 Free Chen Sunglasses Portraits from all over the world.

We sent two big packages of Christmas cards to Chen in December 2011.

When I flew to New York City one week ago today to welcome Chen to the United States, it was one of the most exciting moments of my life.

While Chen is free, his family and friends are not.  For example:

  • His nephew, Chen Kegui, is detained and has been accused of attempted murder.
  • His brother, Chen Guangfu, was detained and tortured.  He now seeks justice for his son, Chen Kegui.
  • Lawyer Jian Tianyong has been repeatedly beaten and detained because of his support of Chen.

China’s One Child Policy

Lost in the drama of Chen’s escape is the issue for which he risked everything:  the abuse of women and families under China’s One Child Policy.

Stop Forced Abortion – China’s War on Women! Video (4 mins)

Stop Forced Abortion – China’s War on Women!  Chinese Video (4 mins)

Affecting 1.3 billion people, the coercive enforcement of China’s One Child Policy causes more violence against women and girls than any other official policy on earth and any other official policy in the history of the world.

  1. Forced abortion is traumatic to women.   This can happen up to the ninth month of pregnancy.  Some forced abortions are so violent that the women themselves die, along with their full term babies.
  2. Women who have violated the policy are often victims of forced sterilization, which can lead to life-long health complications.  These forced abortions and forced sterilizations are often performed without anesthesia.
  3. A document leaked out of China in November 2009 discusses methods of infanticide, including the puncturing of the skulls and injecting alcohol into the brains of full term babies, usually girls, to kill them during labor.
  4. Because of the traditional preference for boys, sex-selective abortion of girls is common — a form of “gendercide.” Women’s Rights Without Frontiers will be featured as the leading expert in a new feature-length documentary entitled “It’s a Girl,” about gendercide in India and China.
  5. Because of this gendercide, there are an estimated 37 million more men than women in China today.   This gender imbalance is a major force driving sexual slavery of women and girls in Asia.
  6. China has the highest female suicide rate of any country in the world – approximately 500 women a day.  I believe this high suicide rate is related to forced abortion.

The true spirit of the Chinese Communist Party is most clearly seen in the faces of the population control police as they drag women away, beat them, strap them down to tables, and force them to abort babies that they want, up to the ninth month of pregnancy.  Blind, beaten, impoverished and imprisoned, Chen nevertheless possesses the insurmountable courage to stand alone against this repressive regime.  He and his wife, Yuan Weijing, are true warriors for women’s rights, willing to shed their own blood for the women and families of China.  When the One Child Policy ends, the name of Chen Guangcheng shall be forever credited with that great and hard-fought victory for women’s rights and freedom.

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