Thursday, November 03, 2011

Human Rights Activist Persecuted in China

"The Chinese government imprisoned Chen for four years in response to his work documenting forced abortions and sterilizations. Since Chen’s release from prison in September 2010, the police have cordoned off his home from the rest of his village and severely beaten him at least three times. "

The international community is outraged with the Chinese Government's persecution of Chen, a blind Chinese Human Rights Lawyer. As the quote indicates, most of Chen's work focuses in fighting the forced abortions and sterilizations taking place in China – clear violations of human rights.

For his opposition to the Government’s inhumane practices, Chen was imprisoned for four years, and then upon release, was blocked off from the rest of the community by authorities, and beaten numerous times. Fortunately, many local friends and community members heard of Chen’s abuse, and visited his home to try to help out. Authorities, however, violently confronted these supporters, and violently assaulted and robbed them. Despite the violence, supporters still come to see Chen. One supporter summed up his reason for visiting Chen, like this: “I couldn’t believe something so dark and evil could happen in my country, so I had to see for myself.”

It is very disturbing knowing that abuses like this are happening in this day and age. Chen’s treatment reminds me of when Jews were forced into ghettos the in Germany, separated from the rest of the community. Even though it is clear that there are supporters of Chen, it seems that more can be done to stop this human rights abuse. What can be done? Do you think that more attention ought to be paid to this story, even though it is one isolated event? If the answer is no, just remember the quote by Martin Niemollier:

First they came for the communists,
 and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
 and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
 and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

1 comment:

Cosima said...

Similarly to Chen, 13 human rights activists in Syria were arrested on May 20, 2011 after a peaceful protest that took place in Qamishli city. None of the 13 activists were imprisoned; however, they were detained for six days and during that time some of them were savagely beaten. According to the government, the 13 activists had committed an illegal act and that was by participating in and organizing peaceful demonstrations. By persecuting human rights activists for speaking against the government, governments like Syria's and China's are telling the world that they do not believe in free speech and opinion if their opinions/speeches do not agree with the government.