Tags: Chen | Smith | blind | Chinese

NJ Rep. Smith: Chen Still Not Safe Even in US

Monday, 21 May 2012 04:42 PM

By Dan Weil

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Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, who arrived in the United States Saturday, will need extra protection to guarantee his security from the Chinese government, GOP Rep. Chris Smith says.

At best, China could keep tracking his moves, and at worst, it could seek to harm him, the New Jersey Republican told CNN Monday. Chen plans to start studying law at New York University shortly.

"The Chinese government very aggresively foments following and harassing people who speak up for human rights — even in this country — especially if they are Chinese," Smith said on "Talking POint."

“We’ve learned from . . . many other dissidents who finally got here and got asylum or protection that they are tracked, they are followed, they are harassed. So he will have to be watched — there will have to be an extra layer of protection here in New York,” said Smith, who has been Chen's most outspoken supporter in Congress.

“It has to be watched very carefully because they do things like car crashes or something happens that is made to look like an accident. So we have to keep a very, very sharp focus on his safety.”

Smith chairs the Congressional Executive Commission on China. He met Chen, who has spent years criticizing China's forced abortion and sterilization programs, on his arrival at Newark Airport, and had arranged for the dissident to call into an emergency hearing of the commission earlier this month. In that call, Chen said he feared for his family’s safety and pleaded to come to the United States.

On Monday, Smith repeatedly warned that Chen’s family members in China are still at “grave risk.” Chen’s wife and their two young children flew with him to the United States.

“They’re being retaliated against,” Smith said. “They shifted — they being the Chinese government — from going after him and beating him routinely to beating his family, especially his nephew and brother.”

Smith said Chen is very unlikely to return to China soon. “If he goes back, he and his family will be put in the crosshairs of retaliation,” Smith said. “Right now it is his family, the other Chens that aren’t free, that every one of us has to continue our focus [on] as never before.”

Smith called Chen "one of the greatest defenders of women in the world" for his protest work.

"He has a second child only because some disabled persons — he is blind, as we know — get a chance to have a second child, but forced abortion is absolutely pervasive. They are missing something in the order of 100 million girls because of sex-selection abortion and about 500 women per day in China commit suicide.

"This is the worst violation of human rights ever."

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