China Aid Association
(Washington, D.C.–April 9, 2013) In his first personal appearance at a U.S. Congressional hearing since his dramatic escape from brutal and illegal house arrest, blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng plans to ask the Obama administration to release the diplomatic records of the high-level Sino-U.S. negotiations that secured his freedom to leave China last May.
|(Chen Guangcheng and Bob Fu,
Picture taken in the hearing)
Chen is to be the “star” witness on todayTuesday (April 9) at a hearing of the House Committee on
Last May, Chen captured international headlines when he spoke directly to the same House subcommittee via telephone from Beijing to appeal for help winning permission from the Chinese government for him and his family to leave China. Those two dramatic appeals were made via the cellphone of ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu, who was invited to testify at the two special hearings on Chen’s plight.
In prepared remarks submitted in advance of Tuesday’ hearing, Chen recalled that China had promised not to harm his family in retaliation for Chen’s escape, and he recounts how the Chinese authorities have gone back on their promises.
Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights on “Chen Guangcheng and Gao Zhisheng: Human Rights in China.”
In an effort to compel China to live up to its word, Chen plans to ask for Congress’ help in getting the Obama administration to release the diplomatic records of the agreements, both written and oral, related to Chen’s escape and departure for the United States.
Also to speak at the Tuesday hearing are Geng He, wife of imprisoned Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has been a longtime target of official Chinese government persecution and who has spent periods of up to 20 months “disappeared” in police custody, and ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu.
04-09-2013 Chen Guangcheng testimony.pdf
04-09-2013 Testimony of Geng He.pdf
CAA 04-09-2013 Bob Fu’s testimony.pdf
Biographical information about all three witnesses is provided below.
They were invited to testify at the hearing by Edward R. Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m., Tuesday April 9 in Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.
Chen Guangcheng (born November 12, 1971) is a Chinese civil rights activist who worked on human rights issues in rural areas of the People’s Republic of China. As of May 30, 2012 he is a special student at the U.S. -Asia Law Institute at the New York University School of Law.
Blind from an early age and self-taught in the law, Chen is frequently described as a “barefoot lawyer” who advocates for the victims of forced abortion and sterilization and the welfare of the women and poor. He is best known for exposing massive abuses in official family-planning policy, often involving violence and forced abortions. In 2005, he became internationally known for organizing a class-action lawsuit against the city of Linyi in Shandong for violent enforcement of the one-child policy.
As a result of this lawsuit, Chen was placed under house arrest from September 2005 to March 2006, with a formal arrest in June 2006. During his trial, Chen’s attorneys were forbidden access to the court, leaving him without a proper defender. On August 24, 2006, Chen was sentenced to four years and three months for “damaging property and organizing a mob to disturb traffic.”
Chen was released from prison on 8 September 8, 2010 after serving his full sentence, but remained under house arrest or “soft detention” at his home in Dongshigu Village. Chen and his wife were reportedly beaten shortly after a human rights group released a video of their home under intense police surveillance on February 9, 2011.
Chen’s case received sustained international attention, with the U.S. State Department, the British Foreign Secretary, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International issuing appeals for his release; the latter group designated him a prisoner of conscience. Chen is a 2007 laureate of the Ramon Magsaysay Award and in 2006 was named to the Time 100.
On April 22, 2012, Chen escaped his house arrest and fled to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. After negotiations with the Chinese government, he left the embassy for medical treatment on May 2, 2012, and on May 19, 2012, Chen, his wife, and his two children were granted U.S. visas and departed Beijing on a commercial flight, arriving the same day in New York City. He is residing in New York City with his family.
Geng He, 46, is the wife of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng. Geng completed her university studies in accounting in China. She and Gao Zhisheng married in August 1990. Between 2000 and 2006, she worked as a paralegal and accountant at a Beijing law firm, a law firm founded and directed by her husband.
In March 2009, a month after Chinese officials reportedly detained her husband, Geng escaped from China with her two children. Since arriving in the United States, she has advocated tenaciously on behalf of her husband and other victims of human rights violation in China through interviews and appeals. On February 14, 2012, she testified before Congressional-Executive Commission on China on the topic of her persecuted husband.
Bob (Xiqiu) Fu is one of the leading voices in the world for the persecuted church in China. He was born and raised in mainland China and graduated from School of International Relations of People’s (Renmin) University in Beijing. He later taught English to Communist Party officials at the Beijing Administrative College and Beijing Party School of the Chinese Communist Party from 1993-1996. He pastored a house church in Beijing until he and his wife were jailed for two months for “illegal evangelism” in 1996.
Bob and his wife, Heidi, fled to the United States as religious refugees in 1997. Bob founded the China Aid Association (CAA) in order to draw international attention to China’s gross human rights violations against house church Christians. As president of CAA, Bob has testified before the Congressional Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, the House International Relations Committee, US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and the Task Force on International Religious Freedom. He has also testified before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (USCHR), the Foreign Press Association, and diplomats of EU member states and leaders of the European Union Commission and the European Parliament including the EU Parliament Vice-President, Mr. Edward McMillan-Scott. President George W. Bush invited him along with four other freedom fighters to the White House in 2008 for consultation about religious freedom and human rights in China.
Bob is a Research PHD candidate at Durham University, UK. In 2012 Bob was awarded an honorary doctorate degree on global Christian leadership by Midwest University and has been serving as a distinguished professor on religion and public policy in the same institution. In addition to being the China analyst for Voice of the Martyrs, Bob is the Editor-in-Chief of Chinese Law and Religion Monitor, a journal on religious freedom and the rule of law in China, and the guest editor for Chinese Law and Government, a journal by University of California, Los Angles. He received the 2007 John Leland Religious Liberty Award from the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).
He and Heidi have three children, Daniel Tracy and Melissa. Bob is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and English.
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