Representative Christopher Smith, Chairman and Senator Sherrod Brown, Cochairman
of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China announce an emergency hearing on Recent Developments and History of the Chen Guangcheng Case
Thursday, May 3, 2012 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 2172 Rayburn House Office Building
The recent escape of self-trained legal advocate Chen Guangcheng from illegal house arrest has attracted international attention and concern. On April 22, Chen escaped from his home in Dongshigu village, Linyi city, Shandong province, where he and his family had been detained without charge for 19 months. After escaping from home confinement, Chen met the U.S. Ambassador and Administration officials at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and received medical treatment. Recent reports suggest that U.S. and Chinese officials have negotiated an agreement that would permit Chen and his family to remain in China with assurances from the Chinese government that they can live a normal life. The Commission hearing will address ongoing developments in the Chen Guangcheng case and reported prospects for himself, his family and his supporters. Witnesses will discuss details of the previous detention of Chen and his family under an illegal form of “house arrest,” as well as his escape to seek safety at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. In addition, witnesses will also address Chen’s legal advocacy work.
Chen, a self-trained legal advocate who has represented farmers, the disabled and other groups, is perhaps best known for the attention he drew to population planning abuses, particularly forced abortions and forced sterilizations, in Linyi, in 2005. In deeply flawed legal proceedings, authorities sentenced him in 2006 to four years and three months in prison. Following his release in September 2010, Chen, his wife Yuan Weijing, and their six-year-old daughter were subjected to beatings, home confinement and constant surveillance. Throughout the detention, Chinese authorities undertook forceful measures to prevent and harass journalists and supporters who attempted to visit the family.