The unknown condition of Chen Guangcheng, a blind human rights lawyer being oppressed by the Chinese government, was the topic of an emergency hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China this afternoon.
"As we sit here in this room today, free to meet, free to move, and free to speak our minds, we are convening to examine the plight of an extraordinarily brave man, and his equally courageous wife, who in every sense of the word is not free and at grave risk," said Commission Chairman Chris Smith. "As we speak, we can only assume that self-taught lawyer Chen Guangcheng, a heroic advocate on behalf of victims of population planning abuses, languishes with his wife Yuan Weijing and six-year-old daughter, locked inside their home in rural Shandong province. However, we do not have the luxury of certainty regarding Chen's or his family's current whereabouts and medical condition, as Chinese officials have used barbaric methods to prevent all unauthorized persons from contacting or visiting their village." Click here to read Smith's opening remarks.
Time Magazine named Chen one of ""2006's Top 100 People Who Shape Our World," in the category of ""Heroes and Pioneers.'' In 2005 and 2006 Chen criticized the brutality of the one-child policy in Linyi, Shandong province. The Chinese government placed him under house arrest and then convicted him on trumped-up charges. Chen served over four years in prison, despite serious health issues. Foreign reporters attempting to enter his village have been beaten and driven off.
Smith (R-NJ) is chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on the People's Republic of China, a congressionally-mandated, bipartisan panel made up of Members of the House and Senate and Presidential appointees serving in the Obama Administration. Commission Member Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) also participated at the hearing, which featured witnesses Jerome A. Cohen, Professor, NYU School of Law, Co-director, U.S.-Asia Law Institute and Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Sharon Hom, Executive Director of Human Rights in China (HRIC); Professor of Law Emerita, City University of NY School of Law, and; Chai Ling, Founder, All Girls Allowed.