WASHINGTON (BP) -- The case of Chinese human rights advocate Chen Guangcheng, who recently escaped house arrest, presents a "pivotal test for freedom in China and for U.S. credibility as a defender of freedom," Bob Fu of the China Aid Association said.
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been careful not to speak in clear support of Chen, who climbed over the back wall of his home April 22 and reportedly sought refuge with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
|'I always wish U.S. politicians would try to inspire the persecuted instead of sparing the feelings of the persecutors.' -- Bob Fu |
Chen, a 40-year-old self-trained lawyer who has been blind since childhood, was imprisoned and then placed under house arrest for exposing forced abortions under China's one-child policy. In one of the most tragic examples Chen had helped uncover, the government forced a woman who was seven months pregnant to have an abortion, and then forcibly sterilized her, LifeNews.com reported.
"We recognize that President Obama and Secretary Clinton are in a delicate situation and the wrong word may cause problems," Fu said in a statement April 30. "Our first priority is to protect Chen and his family, but it would be inspiring to hear an unqualified and spirited defense of freedom instead of dry diplomatic calculation."
Obama "sidestepped" a question about Chen Monday, ABC News said, refusing to confirm reports that the United States is protecting him.
"I'm aware of the press reports of the situation in China, but I'm not going to make a statement on the issue," Obama said. "What I would like to emphasize is that every time we meet with China, the issue of human rights comes up.
"It is our belief that not only is that the right thing to do because it comports with our principles and our belief in human rights, but also because we actually think China will be stronger as it opens up and liberalizes its own system," the president said.
In an opinion piece published by The Washington Post April 29, Fu wrote that Chen's escape had been planned carefully for many months and that he was "awed by the courage" of those who helped Chen escape nearly six years of torture, malnutrition and isolation.
Fu was among the first to know of Chen's escape.
"The first thing he told me after escaping was that he wanted the outside world to know that he was not going to leave China but to 'fight to the end for the freedom of my family... I want to live a normal life as a Chinese citizen with my family,'" Fu recounted. Read More