Representative Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25) joined with other members of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights in holding a hearing on blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng. Congresswoman Buerkle, who is also the United States Congressional Representative to the United Nations, took part in a telephone conversation with Chen, who is currently in a hospital in China. Rep. Buerkle released the following statement regarding Chen's ongoing struggle against oppressive agents of the Chinese government.
"Chen Guangcheng is a courageous individual whose case illustrates the ongoing civil rights abuses by the Chinese government. Chen has boldly stood up for the rights of women and protested the horrors of forced abortion. The Chinese government has sought to silence him.
"The world should be shocked by the treatment not only of Chen, but also of his family and friends, by Chinese government officials. We must take a stand to ensure that justice is served. The Obama administration must hold the Chinese government accountable to expedite Chen's travel visa so that he can study in the United States.
"While China is becoming a leader in the global community, it is up to the global community to hold China to civil and human civil rights standards. We cannot stand by while China continues to commit human rights abuses. For that reason, it is essential that the Obama administration pursue Mr. Chen's cause to a proper and just conclusion."
Chinese officials began a barbaric campaign against Chen and his family in 2005, after Chen criticized the brutality of the one-child policy in Linyi, Shandong province. The Chinese government placed him under house arrest and subjected him and his family to a wide range of civil rights abuses. He escaped from house arrest last week and sought refuge in the United States Embassy. Chen has since left the Embassy and is purported to be awaiting an expedited travel visa from the Chinese government which would allow him to study in the United States.