Supporter of U.S. broadcasting to China Reggie Littlejohn testifying in Congress on Chen Guangcheng
Supporter of Voice of America broadcasts to China Reggie Littlejohn is testifying at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China emergency hearing on “Recent Developments and History of the Chen Guangcheng Case.” Chen Guangcheng spoke during the hearing by phone. In a phone call lasting about eight minutes, Chen said he would like to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to “thank her face-to-face.”
“He wants to come to the U.S. for some time of rest,” said activist Bob Fu who translated Chen’s remarks during the hearing. “He has not had any rest in the past ten years already.”
Chen also said he was concerned about the safety of his family.
Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, is a member of the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) Advisory Board. Her advocacy has helped to persuade the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to cancel its plan to end Voice of America (VOA) radio broadcasts to Tibet and to shut down the VOA Cantonese Service with its radio, TV, and Internet news delivery to China.
Before the testimony in the U.S. Congress, Reggie Littlejohn posted this article:
Chen Guangcheng to President Obama: “Get Our Whole Family Out.”
Posted on May 3, 2012 by Reggie Littlejohn
The United States should immediately grant asylum to Chen Guangcheng and his family, along with the activist who rescued him, He Peirong. Chen and his wife have both stated that they are in danger.
U.S. officials contend that Chen left the U.S. Embassy yesterday of his own volition to seek medical treatment at a hospital. From the hospital, however, Chen told friends and the media that he was not given full information on which to base his decision. He told Associated Press, moreover, that a U.S. official relayed a threat that if Chen did not leave the Embassy, he wife would be beaten to death. He told CNN, “I am very disappointed at the U.S. government.”
Chen also told CNN that after he escaped, his wife was tied to a chair in their home for two days. Guards carried sticks into their home and threatened to beat her to death. They also moved into their house, eating at their table and using their belongings. They have installed seven surveillance cameras inside their home. These facts convinced Chen that it would not be safe for him or his family to remain in China. He did not learn these facts until he was reunited with his wife in the hospital.
Chen then told CNN, “I would like to say to (President Obama): Please do everything you can to get our whole family out.” He told the Daily Beast, “My fervent hope is that it would be possible for me and my family to leave for the U.S. on Hillary Clinton’s plane.”
After Chen’s miraculous, “mission impossible” escape and the risks he and others took to deliver him safely to the U.S. Embassy, why did the U.S. officials press him to leave and hand this noble man back into the hands of those who have been so fiercely persecuting him and his family?
If so, this action is beyond shameful. Not only have we let Chen down, but we have betrayed those in China that we should most want to support: those who share our values.
Many in China have regarded the U.S. Embassy as the lone island of freedom and justice in a land filled with repression and injustice. Given their trust, how could the U.S. hand over a deserving citizen who had fled there for protection?
Chen is hugely symbolic in China, the conscience of the nation. By challenging the One Child Policy, he has challenged the lynchpin of social control in China. This explains the ferocity of the Chinese Communist Party’s reaction to him.
When Chen Guangcheng fled to the U.S. Embassy, the U.S. had a golden opportunity to do the right thing – give him and his family asylum and bring them to safety in the U.S. This would have erased a generation of anti-American propaganda and inspired gratitude, admiration and trust among the Chinese people. Instead the U.S. expediently dispatched Chen out the door, shattering our moral credibility before the world and losing the hearts and minds of a generation of Chinese people who share our values.
The only way to redeem the situation is as clear as it is urgent: give asylum to Chen and his family – and to He Peirong as well. Bring them to safety in the United States, whatever it takes, on Hillary Clinton’s plane.
The hearing and Reggie Littlejohn’s testimony can be watched online. LINK
Representative Christopher Smith, Chairman and Senator Sherrod Brown, Cochairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China announce an emergency hearing on Recent Developments and History of the Chen Guangcheng Case
Thursday, May 3, 2012
2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
2172 Rayburn House Office Building
Streaming Live by Ustream
The recent escape of self-trained legal advocate Chen Guangcheng from illegal house arrest has attracted international attention and concern. On April 22, Chen escaped from his home in Dongshigu village, Linyi city, Shandong province, where he and his family had been detained without charge for 19 months. After escaping from home confinement, Chen met the U.S. Ambassador and Administration officials at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and received medical treatment. Recent reports suggest that U.S. and Chinese officials have negotiated an agreement that would permit Chen and his family to remain in China with assurances from the Chinese government that they can live a normal life. The Commission hearing will address ongoing developments in the Chen Guangcheng case and reported prospects for himself, his family and his supporters. Witnesses will discuss details of the previous detention of Chen and his family under an illegal form of “house arrest,” as well as his escape to seek safety at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. In addition, witnesses will also address Chen’s legal advocacy work.
Chen, a self-trained legal advocate who has represented farmers, the disabled and other groups, is perhaps best known for the attention he drew to population planning abuses, particularly forced abortions and forced sterilizations, in Linyi, in 2005. In deeply flawed legal proceedings, authorities sentenced him in 2006 to four years and three months in prison. Following his release in September 2010, Chen, his wife Yuan Weijing, and their six-year-old daughter were subjected to beatings, home confinement and constant surveillance. Throughout the detention, Chinese authorities undertook forceful measures to prevent and harass journalists and supporters who attempted to visit the family.
Pastor Bob Fu, Founder and President, ChinaAid Association
Sophie Richardson, Ph.D., China Director, Human Rights Watch
T. Kumar Director, International Advocacy for Amnesty International USA
Wang Xuezhen, human rights advocate
Cao Yaxue , Human Rights Advocate, Blogger
Michael Horowitz, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute
Reggie Littlejohn, President, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers