X
May 2, 2012

Political Asylum for Chen Guangcheng

The Catholic Medical Association (CMA) has issued the following statement regarding treatment of Chinese human rights lawyer and political refugee Chen Guangcheng:
“Chen Guangcheng and his family should be granted political asylum in the United States or another country committed to respect for human rights as soon as possible.”
Read the full statement after the break.

The Catholic Medical Association (CMA) has issued the following statement regarding treatment of Chinese human rights lawyer and political refugee Chen Guangcheng:
Chen Guangcheng is a courageous human rights lawyer who, despite his disability of blindness, has exposed China’s brutal, inhumane practice of forced abortions and sterilizations. For bringing this abuse of human rights to light, Chen has been imprisoned and kept under virtual house arrest; he and his family have been tortured and subjected to threats.

After escaping his captors near the end of April and finding asylum in the U.S. embassy in Beijing, it appears that Chen was pressured to leave the embassy, and the performance of embassy staff and State Department officials are being questioned. Chen’s life, and the life of his family, are in grave danger.

The Catholic Medical Association calls upon President Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to take immediate action to protect the safety and most basic human rights of this courageous and vulnerable man. President Obama, in his speech at the Holocaust Museum on April 23, 2012, referenced the “unhappy record of the State Department and so many officials here in the United States,” during the years in which the Holocaust took place. The CMA calls upon President Obama to take responsibility for ensuring the highest level of integrity in the U.S. Department of State for upholding the principles of American society in promoting freedom and human rights, not only in speeches, but precisely where vulnerable people are at risk for exposing the worst abuses.

The CMA calls upon Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in particular, to do her part to protect the human rights of Chen Guangcheng. On April 22, 2009, Secretary Clinton condemned forced abortion and forced sterilization in China during congressional testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, calling these practices “absolutely unacceptable” and “an egregious interference with women’s rights.” Speaking yesterday to the Daily Beast, Chen said, “My fervent hope is that it would be possible for me and my family to leave for the U.S. on Hilary Clinton’s plane.”

Finally, the CMA calls upon Premier Wen Jiabao and the government of China to make a step forward in their respect for human rights. While the history and experience of China are quite different from that of the West,  a minimum of respect for decency and human dignity—sufficient to reject the torture, imprisonment, and abuse of a human rights advocate and his family—should be a prerequisite for membership in the community of free nations.

Chen Guangcheng and his family should be granted political asylum in the United States or another country committed to respect for human rights as soon as possible.
Founded in 1932, the Catholic Medical Association is the largest association of Catholic physicians in North America. For more information, go to http://www.cathmed.org.

CONTACT: John Brehany, Ph.D., S.T.L., Executive Director & Ethicist

###

Categorised in: