Chen Guangcheng, a dissident who spent seven years imprisoned in China, told the Republican National Convention (RNC) Wednesday the Communist Party was an “enemy of humanity.”
Chen, a blind self-taught legal scholar from a rural community, spent those years in both prison and house arrest after police detained him for his advocacy against forced abortions, a common policy under China’s “one-child” rule that prevented families from birthing siblings. Currently, due to a precipitous decline in population, China has expanded that policy to two children but is still believed to force women to kill illegal unborn children.
In his address Wednesday, Chen expressed gratitude to America for granting him and his family a chance to build a life free of authoritarianism.
“Standing up to tyranny is not easy. I know. When I spoke out against China’s ‘one-child’ policy and other injustices, I was persecuted, beaten, sent to prison and put under house arrest by the Chinese Communist Party,” Chen noted. “In April 2012, I escaped and was given shelter in the American embassy in Beijing. I am forever grateful to the American people for welcoming me and my family to the United States where we are now free.”
“The CCP is an enemy of humanity. It is terrorizing its own people and it is threatening the well-being of the world,” Chen affirmed. “In China, expressing beliefs or ideas not approved by the CCP – religion, democracy, human rights – can lead to prison. The nation lives under mass surveillance and censorship.”
Investigations by monitor groups, human rights organizations, and media outlets have confirmed the existence of over 1,000 concentration camps in western Xinjiang province housing between 1 and 3 million people belonging to the Uyghur ethnic minority, as well as other Muslim ethnic minorities. Those who have survived the camps say they are forced to pledge fealty to the Communist Party, worship dictator Xi Jinping, engage in slave labor, witness and endure torture and rape, and suffer forced sterilizations and abortions.
China refers to the camps as “vocational training centers.” Xinjiang residents not in camps live under constant surveillance, including CCP agents living in their homes as spies.
Chen concluded stating that he believed President Donald Trump “has shown the courage to wage” the fight against Beijing.
“The U.S. must use its values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, to gather a coalition of other democracies to stop CCP’s aggression. President Trump has led on this and we need the other countries to join him in this fight. A fight for our future,” Chen said. “We need to support, vote, and fight for President Trump – for the sake of the world.”
Chen is free today after escaping house arrest and fleeing to the American embassy in Beijing in 2012. Once there – arriving during a visit by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the capital – Chen later said the Obama administration pressured him into going to a Chinese Communist Party hospital to treat his injuries and denied him access to the internet.
“The embassy kept lobbying me to leave and promised to have people stay with me at the hospital, but this afternoon, as soon as I checked into the hospital room, I noticed they were all gone,” Chen said in 2012, after his escape from house arrest but before leaving China, saying he felt lied to. He similarly condemned the Obama administration in his memoir, The Barefoot Lawyer, published shortly after Clinton applauded herself for saving Chen in her own book, Hard Choices.