Kathleen Gilbert

Exclusive interview: Chen shows one-child policy is China’s ‘nuclear issue’, says Congressman

Kathleen Gilbert
Kathleen Gilbert
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WASHINGTON, May 7, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Chen Guangcheng and his family nearly lost everything for attempting to expose one of China’s most horrific secrets. Now as the blind dissident fades from international headlines this week in diplomatic limbo, one human rights leader is determined to keep the cause Chen has devoted his life to from fading as well.

LifeSiteNews.com on Friday evening spoke with Congressman Chris Smith, who has worked for years to raise Chen’s visibility as part of a decades-long struggle on Capitol Hill against the Communist country’s one-child policy.

Smith was highly critical of the Obama administration’s sweep-it-under-the-rug attitude towards Chen in the face of high-level talks in Beijing the same week.

“From the very beginning was this hurry up attitude,” he said. “I was told he wanted to talk to me. So I placed a call, it never got through, I left a message with the right people as to why I was calling, never got to talk to him. And he said other people had tried to get to him.”

If U.S. embassy officials had let Smith speak with Chen as the human rights activist had wished, Smith said, he would have warned him against his decision last Wednesday to step back onto Chinese soil.

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Once he did speak to Chen, said Smith, “He told me, ‘They were up all night working on this. They barely got any sleep.’ I said, Chen, that’s not necessarily a good thing. They’re trying to get you out of the embassy to get this resolved before the big summit because you can’t let Chen Guangcheng complicate the summit.

“That’s what the summit should have revolved around.”

“Here’s a guy who’s been traumatized, almost beaten to death several times, and very seasoned diplomats are talking to him about his options - I think he needed a true time of reflection,” he said.

Chen’s future is still precariously uncertain. Although several U.S. universities offered him fellowships - a typical safety valve for vulnerable dissidents, according to Smith - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left China this weekend without Chen and his family on her plane, as Chen had said he ardently hoped he would be.

Meanwhile, according to the latest reports, Chen remains under police lockdown in a Beijing hospital with his two children and wife - a unity won at a high price. Chinese officials had threatened to send his wife back into the hands of guards in their hometown if he did not leave the U.S. embassy he fled to after 19 months of extra-judicial home imprisonment, beatings, and other mistreatment.

Smith also said that Chen was extremely worried about his extended family, including his mother and nephew, the latter of whom has been detained and Chen fears is being tortured.

Although emphatic that Chen and his family must be rescued, Smith said the affair was in a way less about one man’s drama than the dirty secret China was hoping to hide.

The maltreatment of forced-abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng, he said, serves to highlight the Communist country’s sensitivity over its population control policy, which several investigations have confirmed includes the routine forced abortion of women, even through the ninth month of pregnancy.

“This could be a pivotal moment getting the world to see that” forced abortions are among “the worst crimes against humanity,” said Smith.

Smith said he was optimistic that Chen and at least his immediate family would be allowed to flee China because “the Chinese realized that the firestorm of complaint and scrutiny” surrounding Chen revealed the “underlying issue, which is forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations.”

“They want to keep that under wraps,” he said.

Smith, who has worked against the one-child policy for the last 30 years, described a Communist regime “obsessed with population control” - and one that regarded mention of the policy in diplomatic talks “the unpardonable sin.”

During one trip, Smith recounted the “sore nerve” he and Rep. Frank Wolf struck with China’s premier at the time, Li Peng, when abortions under the one-child policy were mentioned.

“He made outrageous statements like, there’s more abortions in America than in China,” he said. Similarly, Peng Peiyun, Chairperson of National Population and Family Planning Commission, told Smith in a different meeting that “you’re making it up, you’re lying about it.”

China “without doubt” had the one-child policy at the forefront of its mind in dealing with the Chen crisis, Smith said. “I know for a fact because I’ve been fighting it for three decades,” he said.

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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