Tag archives: Chen Guangcheng

Chen, China, and New York University

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 17, 2013

FRC has advocated for the blind Chinese attorney Chen Guangcheng for several years. Chen, a self-taught lawyer, received brutal treatment from the Chinese government because he refused to be silent about the forced abortions and inhuman treatment of women intrinsic to China’s notorious “one-child” policy.

Allowed to leave China with his immediate family last year, New York University gave him a fellowship and an apartment. Now, NYU is demanding that Chen leave. According to Chen:

… as early as August and September, the Chinese Communists had already begun to apply great, unrelenting pressure on New York University, so much so that after we had been in the United States just three to four months, NYU was already starting to discuss our departure with us. The work of the Chinese Communists within academic circles in the United States is far greater than what people imagine, and some scholars have no option but to hold themselves back. Academic independence and academic freedom in the United States are being greatly threatened by a totalitarian regime.

The university denies that pressure from Beijinghas driven its decision. University spokesman John Beckman “insists that Mr. Chen’s law school fellowship was always meant to be for one year … The fellowship’s end, Mr. Beckman said, ‘had nothing to do with the Chinese government — all fellowships come to an end’.”

Chen’s departure from NYU comes in the wake of NYU’s newly developed campus in Shanghai, which plans to start offering classes this fall. At the same time, other reports indicate that Chen always knew his fellowship would draw to an end and is currently deciding between two professional offers.

Let’s hope this is a case of a brave man overreacting to the previously agreed upon conclusion of his one-year opportunity. But speculation as to NYU’s motivation is understandable. As noted in today’s The New York Times:

In the United States, many colleges have grown increasingly reliant on the tuition from the 194,000 Chinese students who enrolled at American universities last year, a 23 percent increase over the previous year.

FRC’s friend Bob Fu of China Aid, who only recently lectured at our D.C. headquarters on China’s human rights violations, had this response on his organization’s website:

American universities are out chasing the China dollar and are very reluctant to work with dissidents who have a strong voice in China. It does not always have to be direct pressure from Beijing, there is also self-censorship, particularly if a college president believes their China campus or the future enrollment of Chinese students will be sabotaged.

Even if this incident is as benign as NYU claims it is, the fact that it would receive so much attention shows the extent to which China’s “get tough with America” policies has gained genuine, if unwelcome, credibility in the U.S. For example,China’s recent “cyber attacks” have “hit key U.S. weapons systems.” The damage these attacks have done is not public, but they have been targeted, coordinated, and extensive.

One thing is without dispute: Chen is right to refer to “Chinese Communists.” Free enterprise has become an increasing part of China’s urban life, but true liberty is repressed daily as Chinese Christians are persecuted and anyone perceived to be a threat to the post-Maoist government is monitored or, as in the case of Chen, brutalized. Educational content is scripted; political freedom is non-existent, and media censorship of all types widespread.

If eventually it comes out that NYU has ended its relationship with Chen due to Communist Chinese bullying, it will be another telling reminder that moral courage – the bravery to do what’s right, even in the face of financial or some other kind of loss – is never out of season.

Ai WeiWei in D.C. and Chen Guangcheng Interview

by Chris Gacek

January 30, 2013

Earlier this week, I wrote about a recent FRC event discussing China’s forced population control policies. This weekend, CBS’s news program, “Sunday Morning” carried a feature on the world-famous Chinese dissident and artist Ai WeiWei. The story focused on an exhibit, running until February 24, at the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C.

In October 2012, the British magazine, the New Statesman, published an edition edited by Ai WeiWei containing numerous interviews. The Mandarin edition is available in PDF here. This edition contains an interview of the blind anti-one-child policy activist, Chen Guangcheng, by Ai WeiWei. An English translation of the Ai WeiWei-Chen Guangcheng conversation may be found here. Mr. Chen and his family fled China in May 2012 and now live in New York City.

It is a very powerful interview, here is one paragraph:

Ai Weiwei: You understand the issues surroun­ding the one-child policy and have participated in relevant work on this topic. Could you discuss your views on it?

Chen Guangcheng: Human life is of paramount importance to the traditional morals of Chinese culture. This concept has been trampled on by uncivilised policies and behaviour – including forced abortions – to the point of complete devastation. After decades of violent abortions, people have lost almost all respect and regard for life. It isn’t just ordinary parents who are affected by the one-child policy: friends, relatives and neighbours can also be implicated. And an inevitable result is an ageing society. But the most detrimental effect of the policy is the destruction of the value of life.

Later in the article there is this stunning, illuminating exchange:

Ai Weiwei: There is a huge industrial chain – every area has a family planning office and a control department. The system is a massive employer.

Chen Guangcheng: Yes. And it’s not just about employment: there are wider economic interests as well. There were 130,000 forced sterilisations and abortions. This has created an industry, the income from which is extremely high. Over 60 million people are affected by this policy – your neighbours, for example. If you have violated family planning and become pregnant and they cannot find you, your neighbours in a 50-metre radius will be arrested. In other words, they will use your house as the centre of a 50-metre circle, arresting at least five other households.

If you count the four directions from the house, at least 20 families will be affected. They will arrest one person from each family and lock them away to “study”. Every day, they have to pay 200 yuan as their tuition fee and they will be beaten once in the morning and once at night. Therefore, people do whatever they can to find the pregnant woman. Because the families are worried, they call on their relatives to bribe the officials to release the person arrested. They pay between 3,000 and 5,000 yuan. After they hand over the money, the officials think of a way to send the person home but they can still be rearrested after three to five days. And then they have to pay again to get the person rereleased. There won’t even be a receipt. That’s a tremendous amount of income. If you cut off the revenue stream of these family planning officials, of course they will be angry.

I have to admit that I have never heard this before. Well, let’s all enjoy our cheap Chinese imports,America.

The Chen Saga Continues - and Needs Prayer

by Rob Schwarzwalder

May 2, 2012

According to Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers (WRWF), the woman who helped Chinese human rights dissident Chen Guangcheng escape from his house arrest, has been “detained” by the Chinese authorities.

According to (He) Peirong, Chen spent months on his back, pretending to be near death, so that his guards would relax their vigilance. Then on April 22, with exquisite timing, he scaled a wall and ran for his life, taking several wrong turns and falling into a river because of his blindness. Peirong drove 20 hours to meet Chen and fooled the village guards into letting her in. She disguised herself as a courier. Then she drove Chen another eight hours still wet from his fall in the river to safety in Beijing. Their plan was so masterfully executed that the authorities did not realize Chen was gone for four days.”

WRWF is a ministry devoted to ending forced abortion and sexual slavery in China. The horror of the Chinese government’s commitment to abortion through the ninth month of pregnancy in order to enforce it’s “one child” policy has resulted in enormous suffering for women, not to mention the deaths of their unborn children.

As millions of Americans take time this week to participate in our National Day of Prayer, let us pray for the protection of He Peirong, Chen Guangcheng, and their families, and for guidance for such U.S. officials as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke (who accompanied Chen to the hospital where he is now being treated), as this situation continues to unfold.