29.04.2012: Human rights activist Chen Guangcheng escapes house arrest in China

29.04.2012: Human rights activist Chen Guangcheng escapes house arrest in China

29.04.2012: Human rights activist Chen Guangcheng escapes house arrest in China

1st May 2012

Last Tuesday Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and internationally recognised expert on China’s One Child Policy was in Ireland highlighting human rights abuses against women in China and the plight of blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, a campaigner against forced abortion and other abuses that arise from the Chinese One Child Policy.

Ms Littlejohn briefed members of the Oireachtas and addressed a public meeting hosted by the Pro Life Campaign in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin.

Women’s Rights Without Frontiers is a non-partisan, international coalition to oppose forced abortion, sterilisation and human trafficking in China and Ms. Littlejohn is an internationally recognised expert on China’s One Child Policy and the problems it has caused.

The One Child Policy in implemented through, moral, financial and sometimes physical abuse with cases of heavily women being held down as their baby was aborted. This policy combined with a cultural preference for boys over girls has led to what’s become known as “gendercide,” the deliberate targeting of baby girls for abortion or even infanticide. It is estimated that over 100 Million baby girls have been aborted in China alone for the simple reason that they were girls. This has led to a skewed sex ratio in China where there are 113 boys born for every 100 girls. The ratio in Ireland of 106 boys to 100 girls is the figure demographers consider normal.

Reggie Littlejohn and supporters of Stop Gendercide Now outside the Chinese Embassy in Dublin on 25th April

Ms. Littlejohn has highlighted for some years the case of Chinese lawyer and human rights advocate Chen Guangcheng who was put under house arrest in 2005 as punishment for campaigning against the human rights abuses endured by Chinese women as a result of the One Child Policy. Even though he was officially released from prison he was kept in detention and denied treatment despite suffering a serious illness.

On Wednesday Ms. Littlejohn (who has been denied entry into China because of her advocacy for Chen and the women he has represented) led an awareness event for Chen’s case outside the Chinese Embassy in Dublin. Chen, who’s been blind from an early age, wears sunglasses all the time and as part of the campaign to highlight his case Ms. Littlejohn and other activists donned sunglasses in solidarity.

On Friday, it was announced that Cheng has escaped captivity and he is reported as being in hiding in the United States Embassy in Beijing. This news was an international sensation. While Reggie Littlejohn has welcomed the news of his escape she has also highlighted the fact that he is not yet out of danger and that he, his family, including his wife and daughter (who are still under observation in the family home), remain in danger. She has also called on the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who is visiting China from Beijing to raise his case.

For more information on Reggie and her work and to sign a petition calling on the Chinese government to release Chen Guangcheng, visit Women’s Rights Without Frontiers website