November 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) –U.S. Rep. Chris Smith has announced that he is attempting to make an emergency visit to China to meet with pro-life human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, who rumors suggest may already have been killed at the hands of Chinese authorities.
“We have not gotten a visa yet, my hope is we will,” Smith told NTD Television on Wednesday, “but I’m trying to because this is such an emergency for Chen Guangcheng and his wife and young child that we would look to leave by Wednesday of next week and seek to visit his home.”
Rep. Smith is Chairman of the House Human Rights Committee, and one of the most fiercely outspoken pro-life politicians in Congress.
Chen has gained international attention for his fearless efforts to expose and put an end to China’s brutal one child policy. He was released in October of last year after spending four years in prison for his activism, during which time he was repeatedly tortured and beaten.
But Chinese authorities have not let up on Chen since then, putting him under house arrest and 24-hour surveillance. There have also been reports of brutal torture at the hands of Chinese officials, on at least two occasions since his release.
Most recently, however, have come reports from China that Chen may no longer be alive; however, so far those reports have been impossible to verify.
Last month, Chinese authorities detained a group of at least nine human rights activists trying to visit Chen Guangcheng in his village. According to the group Voice of America (VOA), villagers had said, “Chen is dead already.”
Then just this past Sunday, another group of 37 human rights activists who attempted to see Chen were detained, and then beaten by a crowd of men in plain clothes.
“We were roughed up and pushed around, and some of us were hurt, but the police didn’t lift a finger and ignored our complaints,” Mao Hengfeng, one of the activists, told Reuters.