WASHINGTON—The family of blind Chinese activist Chen Guancheng has received death threats in China.
Chen Guangfu, Chen’s older brother, reported that government-hired thugs had thrown bricks and beer bottles at his house, and on one occasion woke them in the night by throwing rocks, dead ducks, and dead chickens.
“He was told by party officials that his family members would be killed as dead ducks and chickens,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) speaking at press conference outside the Capitol building on April 24.
Smith said he learned of the threats that morning from Chen who is in the United States, after seeking asylum at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing last year.
Chen was harassed, beaten and under various forms of detention starting in 2005 after he tried to bring a class-action lawsuit against officials for excessive enforcement of China’s One-Child Policy, including coercing women into late term abortions.
He managed to escape house arrest, and sought refuge at the U.S. Embassy, before agreeing to move to a hospital for injuries incurred during his escape. Fearing for his own and his family’s lives, Chen accepted an offer to study at New York University. With his situation widely publicized, he was granted permission to leave China and to bring his immediate family with him, but his older brother’s family has been forced to pay a price.
Chen Guangfu was badly beaten by local police on Chen’s departure, and his son, Chen Guancheng’s nephew, was arrested while trying to protect his mother from law enforcement thugs.
Smith said Chen Guangfu’s village, Dongshigu, had been “blanketed with paper slogans” attacking the Chen brothers. Last Sunday, April 21, rocks, dead ducks, and dead chickens began to rain down on Chen Guanfu’s house.
“According to local custom throwing dead ducks and chickens is a threatening signal that someone’s life is in danger,” Smith said.
Chen Guangfu reported the attacks to the police but they turned a blind eye. He and his wife have since been taken away. Yinin County prosecutors accuse them of “harboring criminals.” The alleged criminals are their son and Chen Guancheng.
Petition to Stop One-Child Policy
Smith was speaking at an event to highlight China’s One-Child Policy, something Chen had been working hard to stop.
Reggie Littlejohn from Women’s Rights Without Frontiers said the policy has created a culture of “gendercide” in China, where girls are aborted, abandoned or even killed, in the hope the next conception will be a boy.
“The birth ratio of girls to boys in China is the most skewed in the world,” Littlejohn said at the Capitol event.
There are approximately 100 girls born for every 119 boys in China, she said, creating an imbalance of around 37 million more men than women.
Littlejohn was coordinating the delivery of a petition to the Chinese Embassy in Washington that day. The petition requesting an end to the one child policy had 200,000 signatures.