(Washington, D.C., Dec. 5, 2011) Women’s Rights Without Frontiers president Reggie Littlejohn has been invited to join other human rights activists and China scholars to testify at a hearing commemorating the one-year anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese political prisoner Liu Xiaobo. She has been asked to testify regarding Chen Guangcheng, who was arrested in 2006 for helping to expose the Chinese government’s use of forced abortion and involuntary sterilization to enforce its “One Child Policy.” He remains under house arrest and his health is in jeopardy.
Littlejohn is also submitting a report from Chen Guangcheng’s 2005 investigation into coercive family planning in Linyi City, Shandong Province. A member of Chen’s team, celebrated human rights attorney Teng Biao, drafted the report, which contains extensive witness statements from cases Chen and his team were investigating before Chen was jailed. In this report are detailed accounts regarding:
- a woman forcibly aborted and sterilized at seven months;
- villagers sleeping in fields to evade Family Planning Officials;
- Family Planning Officials who broke three brooms over the head of an elderly man
- Family Planning Officials who forced a grandmother and her brother to beat each other; and
- The use of quota systems and the practice of “implication” – the detention, fining and torture of the extended family of One Child Policy “violators.”
Littlejohn stated: “The Chen Guangcheng report makes clear: the spirit of the Cultural Revolution lives on in China’s Family Planning death machine. WRWF has chosen to release the names of the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity, so that they can be held accountable before the world.”
Things may not have improved in Linyi since 2005. Earlier this year, Family Planning Officials stabbed a man to death. http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/blog/?p=147
A woman, six months pregnant, recently died during a forced abortion in Lijing County, also in Shandong Province. http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/blog/?p=429
In early October, an unconfirmed report went out stating that villagers had said that Chen had died. Efforts to confirm that report failed, as it was impossible to gain access to Chen’s village to verify it.
Over the weekend, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers received a credible report that Chen is indeed alive. In fact, according to a key activist in China, the conditions of Chen’s detention have improved slightly.
According to this source, who requested anonymity, “Now his mother is allowed to go outside to buy food although escorted by three guards, and his health also is getting better.”
The source attributed the improved treatment of Chen to the fact that “Chen’s situation was exposed and got huge public attention,” both within China and internationally.
Littlejohn stated that, in addition to international citizen movements, official action is necessary to free Chen. “We commend the courageous and persistent efforts of Rep. Chris Smith to visit Chen and urge the Chinese government to grant him a visa. We also urge U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, to visit Chen directly.”
“The Chinese Communist Party has attempted to silence Chen, but they cannot silence the voices of millions in China crying for his freedom,” she added. “The report that Chen is alive and in improved condition should not be a reason to relax efforts on his behalf. To the contrary, these efforts are having an impact and should intensify until Chen is free. We demand the immediate, unqualified release of Chen Guangcheng and his family. Chen’s ongoing house arrest is illegal and his medical condition remains weak.”
View the Congressional-Executive Commission on China Hearing Notice:
Read Littlejohn’s full testimony here:
Read the Chen Guangcheng report here: