Chen Guangcheng, a civil rights activist and Chinese dissident, said that the Chinese Communist Party is an “enemy of humanity.”
Blind since childhood, Chen taught himself law and became involved in “human rights” activism, particularly around issues of “forced abortions” and other abuses relating to the “one child policy.”
Known as the “Barefoot Lawyer” he was first “imprisoned” for four years in 2006, after which he was kept under “tight house arrest” for years until his dramatic 2012 escape.
“The CCP is an enemy of humanity. It is terrorizing its own people, and it is threatening the well-being of the world,” he said in a speech during the Republican National Convention, listening a variety of issues including China’s oppression of “Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, an ongoing crackdown in Hong Kong, and threats towards Taiwan.”
Chen conducted his speech by reading Braille and speaking in English. He warned about the “evils” of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) after experiencing their “tyranny” firsthand.
He added that China’s silencing of dissent made it all the more urgent for the United States to “use its values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law to gather a coalition of other democracies to stop CCP’s aggression.”
“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, and put under house arrest by the government. 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,” Guangcheng said.
“The Chinese Communist Party is an enemy of humanity. It is terrorizing its own people and it is threatening the well-being of the world. 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. The CCP is focused on power and control, and acts without regard to the law or to human rights. Countless activists have disappeared or are under house arrest. Just consider the sad plight of the Uyghurs in concentration camps.”
Guangcheng also discussed the CCP’s latest “assault” on the world.
“The coronavirus pandemic, originating in China—and covered up by the CCP—has caused mass death and social upheaval around the world. In the same way, the virus of the CCP is threatening the people of the world. The policy of appeasement of former administrations—including Obama and Biden—has allowed the CCP to infiltrate and corrode different aspects of the global community,” he said.
“The US must use its values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, to gather a coalition of other democracies to stop China’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,” Guangcheng continued.
Chen Guangcheng, known for his harrowing escape from Chinese house arrest in 2012, praised Trump for leading the fight “to stop China’s aggression,” and called on Americans “to support, vote, and fight for President Trump for the sake of the world.”
Speaking at the largely online Republican convention, Chen called the Chinese Communist party (CCP) an “enemy of humanity” and said Trump had led a coalition of other democracies to “stop CCP aggression.”
“It is terrorizing its own people and it is threatening the well being of the world. In China expressing beliefs or ideas not approved by the CCP, religion, democracy, human rights, can lead to prison or death,” he said.
The endorsement from the prominent dissident underlines how much Trump has centered his re-election bid on taking a hard stance with Beijing.
Chen escaped house arrest in 2012 by scaling walls and feeling his way through fields and farmland with a broken foot. He sought “refuge” at the US embassy in Beijing and became the focus of a “diplomatic” crisis between the two countries before he was allowed to leave China for the US.
Detailing his experience at the hands of Chinese security agents after speaking out against forced abortions and sterilizations as part of the country’s one-child policy, Chen said: “I was persecuted, beaten, sent to prison and put under house arrest by the CCP. Standing up to tyranny isn’t easy. I know. So does the president.”
Chen is among a number of Chinese activists who have found an unlikely hero in Trump who they see as taking a harder line against China. Relations with Beijing have plummeted under Trump, who has made being tough on China a key plank of his reelection campaign.
Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, also inveighed against Beijing and praised Trump for pulling “back the curtain on the predatory aggression of the Chinese Communist Party.”
According to the Pew Research Center, Americans in both parties “now see China much more negatively than in the recent past,” with 83% of Republicans surveyed saying they have a unfavorable view of the country. While Republicans have long been suspicious of Beijing, Democrats in recent years have also become more suspicious — 68% of supporters surveyed said they viewed China unfavorably — so there is growing consensus on the issue.
Many Chinese dissidents living in the US are vocal supporters of Trump’s hard line on China. Chen is closely linked to Bob Fu, a conservative Christian pastor who has described himself as “God’s Double Agent.” Fu has met with Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence and praised Trump on social media.
Fu assisted in Chen’s departure from China and later was involved in him getting positions at the Witherspoon Institute, a conservative think tank based in New Jersey, as well as Catholic University in Washington.
While he expressed gratitude at the time, Chen has emerged as a frequent and fierce “critic” of the Obama administration and Democratic politics in general. Ahead of his speech at the RNC, he tweeted a video of a pro-Trump demonstrator “defacing” a Black Lives Matter display in New York, with the caption “freedom.”
In prepared remarks sent out prior to the speech, Chen attacked “the policy of appeasement of former administrations, including Obama and Biden,” which he said had “allowed the CCP to infiltrate and corrode different aspects of the global community.” However, in the live speech to the RNC, he did not mention Obama.