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Blind justice

"Blind justice" Continued...

Issue: "Trouble in Egypt," June 2, 2012

The report details some of the brutal cases that Chen uncovered. Section headings include: "Linyi Family Planning Officials Beat a 59-Year-Old Man for Two Days, Breaking Three Brooms over his Head, because his Daughter Was Not Home for a Tubal Ligation Sterilization Check."

The 36-page document includes testimony from local citizens who said authorities beat and tortured them over the unauthorized pregnancies of relatives. Others asked to endure punishments in place of family members found pregnant or unsterilized.

The report also includes testimony by a woman who endured a forced abortion while seven months pregnant. The assault came after authorities beat, tortured, or detained 22 of her relatives while trying to track down the mother pregnant with a third child. "I was already pregnant for seven months and was forced to inject an oxytocic drug," she told the activists. "My baby was aborted one day later."

Near the end of the report, Teng recalled Chen's persistence despite his disabilities: "He keeps a large number of phone numbers, sounds and [path]ways in his mind, so he doesn't need anyone to accompany him to whichever family he visits in the village. Actually people with discerning eyes like us often ask him for help to point the way."

Teng dedicated the report to his own unborn child: "I keep on talking, reading, and singing to her everyday. ... I hope the world she lives in is a safe, free, and love-worthy world."

One thing is clear: The world is still unsafe for many women and unborn children around the world, including in China. During congressional testimony last September, a handful of women testified about the forced abortions they endured in China. Ping Liu, a former Chinese factory worker and U.S. immigrant, recounted routine mandated pregnancy tests in her workplace. She said co-workers told authorities about each of her five pregnancies, and that officials forced her to abort all five unborn children: "We had no dignity as potential child-bearers."

During the hearing, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., called China's policy "the most egregious attack on mothers ever."

Mothers and unborn children aren't the only group facing abuse in China. Authorities continue to crack down on religious minorities and house churches that refuse to register with the government.

During congressional testimony in February, Li Jing and Geng He testified about the serious abuses their husbands had endured as human rights activists in China. Both men, Guo Quan and Gao Zhisheng, are well known Christians dissidents. Gao Zhisheng remains in prison.

The wives say they have been unable to secure meetings with White House officials to discuss their husbands' cases. (During their testimony, the Pentagon welcomed Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping with a 300-man honor guard and a 19-gun salute.)

Meanwhile, the Texas-based Christian rights group ChinaAid reported an increase in harassment against house churches in China during the first part of the year: Authorities in Daqing province detained more than 150 church leaders during a Bible training session in March. In April, authorities arrested 53 local house church leaders during a Bible study in Ye county. Later that month, officials raided a church in Hubei province, smashing the donation box, stealing the money, forcing out the Christians, and changing the locks on the doors.

During a phone interview, Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid, said that a group of five house church pastors tried to visit Chen's remaining family in his village after his escape, but authorities chased them from the village.

Fu speaks with Chen regularly, and expects the activist will spend the summer in Texas after arriving in the United States. Fu says Chen and his family need rest and recovery after their years-long ordeal. Chen doesn't profess Christianity, but tells Fu: "God is the one who helped me escape."

When Fu thinks about China, he's glad that Chen has escaped his captors, but worries about the activists and minorities that still face persecution without an international spotlight. "He's just one of many Chen Guangchengs in China," Fu says of Chen. "There are thousands of them."

Jamie Dean
Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the national political beat and other topics as news editor for WORLD.

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