After the recent release of a human rights activist in China, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) praised the move yet called for an increase in congressional efforts to oppose what he called China's “abusive” one-child policy.
A press release for the representative explained how rights activist Chen Guangcheng was arrested for protesting the one-child policy enforcement campaign in Linyi, Shandong province in 2005 and 2006.
The Chinese government placed him under house arrest then convicted him on charges of alleged property destruction. Chen served the full term of his over four year sentence, despite health problems.
On Sept. 9, officials transported him from prison to his home, which reportedly is surrounded by police and surveillance cameras. Rep. Smith noted that foreign reporters who have tried to enter his village have been beaten and driven away.
“The prison release of Chen Guangcheng, one of China’s most heroic human rights defenders, is good news but only a step in the right direction,” said Rep. Chris Smith on Friday, a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
“The fact that Chen remains under house arrest, imprisoned in his own home, and is reportedly in need of urgent medical attention, must not be ignored,” Smith said. “I appeal to the Chinese government to let Chen move about freely and ensure that he has access to the care he needs.”
Rep. Smith added that the “Chinese government’s relentless pursuit of Chen corresponds to the continuing violence of the one-child policy, which Chen bravely exposed.
“This year alone there are reliable reports of large scale and forced abortion and sterilization campaigns in Guangdong, Fujian, Yunnan, Zhejiang, and Jiangxi provinces. The trauma to Chinese women is immense.
“As Ranking Member of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, I urge President Obama to do everything possible to end human rights abuses in China, including withholding funds from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) until it ends its shameless complicity with China’s abusive population control program.”