Chen Guangcheng: Human Rights “Deteriorating”

Legal activist Chen Guangcheng appeared with House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi during a visit to the US Capitol on Wednesday, and attacked the “deteriorating” human rights situation in China. From The Washington Post’s 2chambers blog:

“Currently the human rights situation is deteriorating. Great cruelty has resulted from efforts to maintain social stability, resulting in a situation in which there is no ethics, rule of law or justice,” he said. “This has led to [an] increasing number of people whose rights have been violated, and these people have and will rise up in protest.”

[…] “While our economic relationship with China is important, the United States has an obligation to engage China and press for democratic reforms and improvement in its human rights practices,” Boehner said later. “We cannot remain silent when fundamental human rights are being violated. We cannot remain silent when religious liberty is under attack. We cannot remain silent regarding China’s reprehensible ‘One Child’ policy.”

Pelosi, a longtime critic of Chinese policy, noted that members of both parties have long been concerned with the fate of Chinese rights activists. Boehner and others in the room laughed when she said: “I don’t often say this, Mr. Speaker, but I do wish to associate myself with your remarks, because I think that you said very well all that our country stands for.”

Chen initially expressed confidence in Beijing’s good faith after arriving in New York in May, but his patience has since frayed. On Wednesday, he accused Beijing of failing to fulfil promises to investigate his illegal house arrest, and expressed concern about his family and particularly his nephew. Chen Kegui was charged with “intentional homicide” after attacking officials who broke into his house in the middle of the night to investigate Chen Guangcheng’s disappearance. From the AFP:

“The Chinese central government explicitly promised me that it would thoroughly investigate the extended oppression and abuse that I endured in Shandong province,” Chen, flanked by lawmakers, told reporters in the Capitol.

“The government further promised to provide for the security of my family. However, it has been more than three months and I have not received any news on the progress of this investigation or even whether it has commenced,” he said.

Chen complained that no Chinese official has contacted him since he arrived in the United States. China had said that it was allowing Chen to go abroad with his family to study, but some experts presumed that China’s main motivation was to get rid of Chen and doubted he would be able to return.