|Blind Chinese dissent Chen Guangcheng with his family|
Chen is part of what is called the “weiquan movement,” a group of “lawyers, activists, intellectuals and ordinary citizens who aim to push the boundaries of reform by using China’s existing laws and courts to defend human rights.” They are overwhelmingly Christian. Li Subin, one of the movement’s best-known activists, says that he takes his inspiration from Proverbs 21:3, “to do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”
The hearing opened as Chen remained incommunicado for more than 24 hours after being abandoned to Chinese officials by State Department officials after having been assured he was under U.S. protection. Chen is an outspoken critic of China's one-child forced abortion and sterilization policies.
Michael Horowitz, director of the Hudson Institute's Project for International Religious Liberty, called for the investigation of State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh for his mishandling of the Chen case. Cao Yaxue, a Chinese-born American human rights advocate, described the importance of Chen's resistance to the Chinese government to hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens, who consider the U.S. Embassy to be an island of freedom in the vast expanse of government abuses.
Speaking by cell phone from a Chinese hospital to the hearings, Chen requested a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while she is in Beijing with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for trade talks with the Chinese government.
|George Bush meets with Chinese dissidents at the White House in 2007|