Is famed pro-life Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng dead? According Chinese human rights organizations there are ominous reports emerging from China about the fate of the blind lawyer, who has suffered years of imprisonment and persecution for his outspoken position against China’s brutal one-child policy.
According to Radio Free Asia, Chinese authorities detained a group of at least nine human rights activists trying to visit Chen Guangcheng. On Wednesday, many members of the group were cut off from communication. According to a report by Canyu, Shandong authorities shot at these activists.
VOA says it is attempting to verify Chen’s status. However, it is difficult to learn anything for certain about Chen, due to the intense security measures that have surrounded him since his release from prison last October.
“We are alarmed at the report that villagers are saying that Chen is already dead,” stated Littlejohn. “If Chen is dead, then the Chinese Communist Party is fully responsible for killing him through torture, denial of medical treatment and slow starvation. If Chen is alive, we urgently demand that he and his family be released immediately and unconditionally, for medical evaluation and treatment.”
“We are concerned about the report that authorities have shot at the activists trying to visit Chen,” stated Bob Fu, President of the China Aid Association. “These netizens display the same brave spirit that Chen has, and they should continue in their courageous attempts to see him.”
Regarding Gao Zhisheng, another human rights lawyer who has disappeared, Fu said, “Gao and Chen are shining lights for human rights in China. Their shocking torture and Gao’s disappearance demonstrate the CCP’s willingness to trample on the rule of law.”
Self-taught lawyer Chen exposed the systematic use of forced abortion and involuntary sterilization in implementing China’s One Child Policy. Time Magazine named him in its list of “2006’s Top 100 People Who Shape Our World,” in the category of “Heroes and Pioneers.” He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and China Aid Association are spearheading an international effort to free Chen. To watch a brief video about Chen and sign a petition to free him, click here.