U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement today urging the Obama Administration to follow through on its commitment to ensure the safety of Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese human rights activist who has sought U.S. support after fleeing house arrest in China:
"It should have been obvious to U.S. officials all along that there is no way to guarantee Mr. Chen's safety so long as he is within reach of the Chinese police state. The U.S. should not have given in to Chinese pressure for Chen to be taken out of the safety of the U.S. embassy.
"This case is a high-profile reminder of the terrible human rights situation in China that too often has gone unchallenged by the United States. Time and again, U.S. officials have chosen not to raise the Chinese regime's abuse of dissidents, brutal forced abortion policy, suppression of free speech, and denial of basic human rights.
"The Administration must support Mr. Chen's freedom to choose where he and his family can live in safety. Failing to ensure Mr. Chen's safety would send a negative message to all those around the world struggling against oppression, and make them question whether the United States will stand with them or their oppressors."