Monday, September 08, 2008

Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps

One of them is Chen Guangcheng.

Chen is a blind, self-taught lawyer who has devoted his career to resisting tyranny and fighting for the little people.

In 2006 he was preparing a class action lawsuit against the Chinese government for human rights abuses perpertrated as part of its one-child policy. The Chinese policy is, of course, the most notorious example of state anti-natalism around today. Chen uncovered cases of forced abortions of foetuses up to 8 months gestation. But launching class action lawsuits against the government isn't the done thing in a one-party state. Chen was arrested, beaten up and following a farce of a trial, during which he vomited, he was convicted of damaging public property and gathering people to block traffic.

Chen is still in jail. A week ago British paralympic athlete, Kristina Veasey added her voice to the many others calling for him to be released. That didn't cut much ice with the Chinese government (surprise, surprise).


Hot on the heels of that, comes news that a federal appeals court in the US has ruled that a woman escaping the forced abortion policy in China can appeal a decision denying her political asylum. A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Shao Yu Yuan can challenge her denial of asylum under the Convention Against Torture.

As Shao Yo Yuan's case shows, the Chinese one-child policy not only continues but continues to be enforced with ruthlessness. Back in April, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported the case of a woman in Zhubao township in the eastern province of Shandong who was detained and beaten to force her pregnant sister to come out of hiding.

“After they took her away they were asking her questions about our other sister [the pregnant woman],” a younger sister told the news service.
“When she said she didn't know, they beat her up. We heard from inside sources that the beatings were very severe. We also heard that they beat one woman to death a few years ago, so we are all very worried about her," the woman told RFA.

RFA also interviewed Chen Guangcheng's wife, Yuan Weijing. She said:

“It is just the same as it always was here. If you are pregnant without permission, it doesn't matter how many months gone you are—they will keep an eye on the pregnancy and then they will arrest you and drag you off for an abortion."

“If you run away, they will detain a member of your family and smash up your home. People here are terribly fearful these days. I really couldn’t tell you the real reason for this. To be honest with you, things got a whole lot more relaxed in 2005 after Chen Guangcheng exposed these practices, and pretty much nobody was getting beaten up at that time. The really nasty practices lingered on in some places, however. But this year it has all started up again.”

1 Comments:

Blogger Renegade Eye said...

Really good post.

Even in the Stalinist days, China had an anti-Marxist Malthusian policy.

9/23/2008 7:54 PM  

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