May 3, 2012
Fate Uncertain for Chen, Blind Lawyer-Activist, in China
Chen now seeks asylum in the US. Rep. Chris Smith to hold emergency hearing in Washington this afternoon. Christians to plead his case in Washington.
Chen Guangcheng, the human rights lawyer who documented forced abortion from China's infamous one-child policy, said in a media interview last night that he now wants to leave China for the United States.
This change of heart comes after Chen spoke with his own attorney by phone and also his wife. The Daily Beast's Melinda Liu last night posted this account of their phone conversation:
Chen ... was weeping as he talked to me over the phone from his hospital bed. Chen says he now wants to leave China as soon as possible: “My fervent hope is that it would be possible for me and my family to leave for the U.S. on Hillary Clinton’s plane.” When U.S. officials escorted him out of the U.S. embassy shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday, Chen thought he’d extracted a promise that at least one of them would stay with him at the hospital, he said. “But when I was brought to the hospital room, they all left. I don’t know where they went.” The ordeal was all the more bewildering because Chen is blind and was hurt during his escape; he needs crutches or a wheelchair to move around. The hours ticked by, and Chen became more and more agitated. Even though he’d originally told friends and embassy officials that he wished to remain in China, now he wanted to leave. “I hope to seek medical treatment in the U.S. with my family, and then I want to rest,” he said. “As for the future, we’ll deal with that in the future.” At the hospital, Chen’s fears mounted as his wife told him she’d been tied to a chair, beaten, and interrogated by Chinese guardsafter they learned he had entered the U.S. embassy in Beijing last Friday
In the meantime, House Rep. Chris Smith and Sen. Sherrod Brown have called an emergency hearing on Chen's case before the panel that Smith and Brown chair: The Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
Scheduled to provide testimony by statement or in person are:
Bob Fu, China Aid
Chai Ling, All Girls Allowed
Reggie Littlejohn, Women's Rights Without Frontiers
Wang Xuezhen, human rights advocate
The hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. this afternoon.
Bob Fu and Chai Ling are both leaders of faith-based organizations in the US that advocate for human rights inside China.
Christianity Today will update this account as further information becomes available.