Date: May 2, 2012
Activist Leaves Embassy, US Officials Implicated in Duress
As of this morning, Chen Guangcheng left the safety of the US Embassy and re-entered the control of the Chinese Communist Party, allegedly for medical treatment. All the reports we saw while the US State Department controlled access to Chen agree that he insisted on staying in China, and refused to seek asylum in the United States or elsewhere.
Recent reports say that U.S. officials pressured Chen to leave the embassy, informing him that his wife would be beaten to death if he did not leave. The State Department denies this but Chen has no reason to lie, and he has reportedly now requested help from the US so that he and his family may flee China safely.
Bob Fu at China Aid also reports that the Chinese government threatened Chen's family in order to compel him to leave the protection of the embassy. In addition to his wife, Chen's brother and nephew were attacked in their home by government thugs and arrested after Chen's escape. Also, He Pierong, the courageous woman who drove Chen to Beijing was taken by security forces to an unknown location.
This marks the second time that a Chinese man has sought shelter from the US and been promptly handed over by the Obama administration when the Chinese Communist Party demanded it. The telling point for the Administration in the Wang Lijun case was the upcoming visit of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to the United States.
Since being sent back, Wang has been placed on extended medical leave. Presumably he has been placed in one of the mental hospitals commonly used by the Chinese Communist party to torture dissidents. Wang has since been called a traitor to China and the Communist party by Chinese President Hu Jintao. His current fate is unknown.
We sincerely hope that the Obama administration has not handed Chen Guangcheng over to a similar fate of disappearance, torture and death to clear the way for the upcoming meetings between Secretary Clinton, Secretary Geithner and top Chinese officials. While there have been assurances of his safety and promises to reunite him with his family, the situation for Chen is grave, and the US State Department is implicated in the duress tactics used by China's oppressive totalitarian government.
We want to ask you to call the White House Switchboard at 202-456-1414 and demand to know what the President is doing regarding Chen Guangcheng. The receptionist will immediately transfer you to a comments voicemail, but that is the best way to highlight this issue.
Please pray for Chen, his family and all those who are suffering under the injustices of Communism in China.
In HIS Grace
Chen Guangcheng's Rescuer Needs to be Rescued: He Peirong
Posted on May 2, 2012 by Reggie Littlejohn
He Peirong is a petite woman with a spine of steel. I know her because she spearheaded the movement to free Chen Guangcheng inside China, while I have played a similar role in the U.S. and Europe. That's where the similarity ends. I have advocated for Chen in complete safety. Peirong, however, has been beaten and detained repeatedly for this extremely dangerous undertaking. Now, she is detained again, for rescuing Chen.
How did Chen escape? The Chinese Communist Party clamped down on him as hard as it could. His house was surrounded by 66 guards working in three shifts - 22 guards every eight hours. His village was sealed off by yet more guards. His phone, computer and television were confiscated. He was completely shut off from the outside world. Plus he was sick and injured from all the beatings.
According to Peirong, Chen spent months on his back, pretending to be near death, so that his guards would relax their vigilance. Then on April 22, with exquisite timing, he scaled a wall and ran for his life, taking several wrong turns and falling into a river because of his blindness. Peirong drove 20 hours to meet Chen and fooled the village guards into letting her in. She disguised herself as a courier. Then she drove Chen another eight hours - still wet from his fall in the river - to safety in Beijing. Their plan was so masterfully executed that the authorities did not realize Chen was gone for four days.
Once authorities discovered that Chen was missing, the reprisals began. The Chinese Communist Party violently detained Chen's older brother and nephew, and his wife, children and mother are at risk as well.
As news of Chen's escape was breaking, I skyped with Peirong on and off all Thursday night from Dublin, where I had testified about Chen at the Irish Parliament. Peirong was alone and worried - about Chen and his family, and about her own safety. Peirong knew that the price of securing Chen's freedom might be her own.
At about 5:00 a.m. Dublin time, I skyped Peirong one last time and she did not answer. She had been detained, and no one has heard from her since. We don't know if Peirong is being tortured or whether her detention will last days, months or years.
In pressing for Chen's freedom, let us also press for the freedom of his rescuer, He Peirong, a hero in her own right. She stood up for Chen during his time of greatest need. The least we can do is stand by her as she pays a terrible price for her courage.
View a video and sign a petition to free Chen Guangcheng here