(CNSNews.com) - Chinese civil rights activist Chen Guangcheng, testifying in front of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and a packed crowd Tuesday, held up a list of “corrupt officials” whom he said were responsible for “130,000 forced abortions” in China.
“The officials who are on this list have continuously in the past persecuted me and my family. These corrupt officials, they have this blood on their hands with . . . 130,000 forced abortions,” Chen said.
Through the use of an interpreter, Chen requested that the list of people, whom he called “persecutors” be excluded from entering the United States.
During his testimony, Chen stopped mid-sentence when citing the number of forced abortions and his colleague, sitting to his right, Robert Fu, head of China Aid, clarified the number with the interpreter.
In an e-mail to CNSNews.com, Fu said, "The number 130,000 was what Mr Chen said in Chinese about the cases of forced abortion and forced sterilization he documented in 2005, which occurred within less than a year. He also mentioned a number 600,000 but the interpreter forgot to translate, which Mr Chen said, is the number of family members [who] were persecuted one way or another in relation to the 130,000 cases."
The list, which is in Chinese, has not yet been translated for the members of the House committee, which is chaired by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.).
In his first personal appearance at a U.S. congressional hearing since his dramatic escape from brutal and illegal house arrest in May of 2012, the blind Chinese self-taught human rights lawyer told congressmen that he doubted the ability of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee to improve the state of human rights in that country, saying the Communist Party had routinely broken promises to Chen himself, to the American government and to the whole world.
“The Chinese leaders are weak,” he said.
In his remarks, Chen said that China had promised not to harm his family in retaliation for his escape, but Chen said Chinese authorities have gone back on their promises.
After Chen Guangcheng escaped from house arrest, the houses of his relatives were raided, he testified. His nephew, Chen Kegui, was detained by police for allegedly hacking and wounding local officials, according to authorities. Family members claim Chen Kegui acted in self-defense.
“Regrettably, to date, the Chinese central government has not honored its commitments to the U.S. government,” testified Chen.
“It has illegally detained and put on trial my nephew. On November 30, 2012, on a charge of so-called intentional injury, it sentenced him to a prison term of three years and three months. Chen Kegui has been sent to the same prison in the city where I was tortured when I was illegally sentenced on trumped-up charges. Up until now, Chen Kegui is still under threat that if he appeals, he will be sentenced to life in prison.”
The Chinese human rights leader said he plans to ask the Obama administration to release the diplomatic records of the high-level Chinese-U.S. negotiations that secured his freedom to leave China last May.
“We cannot continue to tolerate the Chinese communist authorities going back on their word,” he said.
“When the Chinese Communist Central Party can act like this and break its promises to me, to the United States, and to the whole world, and when it can willfully break agreements made to my face that have attracted the world’s attention, how can we expect it to improve the human rights situation in other areas, and to take up its international responsibilities and obligations?” asked Chen.
Letter from Chen Guangsheng’s Wife Details Torture
Chen Guangcheng first gained international exposure in 2005, when he was placed under house arrest after filing a lawsuit in the Chinese province of Shandong, claiming the country’s one-child policy was being excessively enforced through forced abortions and sterilizations.
The lawsuit was rejected, and after serving 11 months of house arrest, Chen was sentenced to 51 months in jail for “damaging property and organizing a mob to disturb traffic,” charges he and his supporters maintain were “trumped up."
After his release in 2010, Chen was then placed under house arrest again, during which time his wife, Yuan Weijing, has said told of Communist officials raiding the couple’s home in February and March of that year.
In a letter written in 2012, Chen's wife detailed the torture and abuse the couple suffered from Chinese authorities.
Yuan Weijing claimed she was bundled into a blanket and repeatedly kicked so hard that she still cannot stand straight. She said she saw her husband being tortured by the officials, who twisted Chen’s arms and neck until he passed out.
The couple was denied medical aid, she said, except for a single intravenous drip from a village doctor. They had to stay in bed because of their injuries, according to the letter written by Yuan.
“On March 3, they sealed our windows with sheets of metal. On March 6 they cut off electric power,” Yuan wrote. “At midnight of March 7, the guards crept into our home and cut off our TV antenna. In the morning of March 8, the electric power was back. On the same day, Zhang Jiang led 40-50 men storming into my home and took away our old computer, some hand written materials, DVD player and some remoter, and all of the materials about Chen Guangcheng’s case. Zhang punched my head with his fist because I confronted him by asking why they were robbing us.”
The Chinese authorities even took her blind husband’s cane, she said.
“On March 17, Zhang Jian led another group of 40-50 men into my home with a few dozen huge bags. They sacked all of our property which they thought they should take into the bags, including all of our books, the posters of our children on the wall, the calendar, Guangcheng’s blind cane, all of our papers, worn power plugs, antenna, wires, etc. March 22, they installed two video cameras on our home gate and southwest corner of our courtyard so they can monitor my home completely,” Chen’s wife said.
Chen made a daring escape from house arrest on April 22 of last year and went to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, where he was given refuge on humanitarian grounds, though at first the embassy refused to confirm or deny Chen’s presence there.
On May 4, after Chen had made known his desire to leave China for the U.S., Liu Weimin, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said that if Chen wished to study abroad, he could “apply through normal channels to the relevant departments in accordance with the law, just like any other Chinese citizen.” On the same day, Chen was offered the chance to be a visiting scholar at New York University.
On May 19, after being granted the requisite U.S. visas, Chen, his wife, and his two children left Beijing on a commercial flight to Newark, New Jersey. He and his immediate family currently reside in New York City.
On Tuesday, as a star witness before the House Foreign Affairs Committee's subcommittee on Africa, global health and global human rights and international organizations, Chen Guangcheng told the U.S. lawmakers that the Chinese people are not counting on new Chinese leaders to bring the needed changes.
“As Chinese citizens, we cannot tolerate them kidnapping the country anymore,” he said. “There’s freedom of speech, there’s freedom of movement. We should break down the wall that the Chinese communist government has erected.”