WASHINGTON, D.C., May 1, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – While Chinese officials have gone into damage-control mode, blocking internet searches related to the escape of human rights activist Chen Guangcheng late last week, pro-life leaders and politicians in the United States are expressing their hope that the daring move will highlight the egregious human rights record of the world’s most populous nation and galvanize the U.S. into action.

“My concern at this moment is for the safety of Chen Guangcheng and his family,” Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in a statement. “My hope is that U.S. officials will take every measure to ensure that Chen and his family members are protected from further persecution.”

“The fact that government officials have repeatedly and severely beaten Mr. Chen, his wife, and his mother during his house arrest, in addition to denying him adequate medical treatment and nutrition in spite of his fragile and deteriorating health, gives rise to justifiable reports that his family members and others associated with him are now in danger,” Congressman Chris Smith, R-NJ, wrote in a
letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday. He called on Clinton to use “all other diplomatic measures to ensure the safety and freedom” of Chen and his family.

At a press conference with the prime minister of Japan on Monday, President Obama refused to comment on the issue.

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Romney said Chen’s fate “points to the broader issue of human rights in China.”

“Any serious U.S. policy toward China must confront the facts of the Chinese government’s denial of political liberties, its one-child policy, and other violations of human rights,” Romney said. “Our country must play a strong role in urging reform in China and supporting those fighting for the freedoms we enjoy.”

Longtime human rights advocates are putting pressure on U.S. diplomats to ensure that such issues are addressed during impending talks with the Chinese government. Rep. Smith said, “The eyes of the world are on Premier Wen Jiaboa, the Chinese government, and U.S. diplomatic leaders—Secretary Hilary Clinton; Assistant Secretary of East Asian Affairs Kurt Campbell; and Assistant Secretary for Human Rights Michael Posner—all of whom are in or are about to be in Beijing.”

Smith said “everything discussed in China” should be filtered “through the prism of” Guangcheng’s struggles, as well as those of “all harassed, arrested, disappeared, and disbarred human-rights lawyers and defenders.”

Some U.S. observers have expressed their worry that these diplomats will downplay Chen’s case as they prioritize other issues, such as continuing to finance the U.S. debt and reducing Chinese carbon emissions.

Steven Mosher, president of Population Research Institute and a leading expert on China’s population control measures, said he fears not enough will be done. “The Obama administration regards the blind Chinese human rights activist as a speed bump on the Clinton-Geithner Road Show to China,” he said. “His fate is far more important than hawking American treasury bonds. In fact, he may be the spark that starts a prairie fire.”

While high-ranking officials are sure to discuss the issue, most Chinese citizens remain hungry for information about Chen. But Communist officials censored the nation’s version of Twitter, known as Sina Weibo, over the weekend. Chinese cannot currently search for such terms as “blind man,” “CNN,” and “UA898” – the United Airlines flight Chen may take from Beijing to Washington, D.C.