Worldwide, Christian leaders who are resisting China's one-child policy and forced abortion were greatly encouraged to hear today's news that lawyer-activist Chen Guangcheng has escaped from house arrest in his rural village.
He has fled to Beijing and there are reports in major news media that he's taken refuge in the US Embassy. Obviously, this is a developing story. But here are comments from Chen's supporters:
From All Girls Allowed, a leading Christian organization fighting gendercide:
"Chen Guangcheng has battled tirelessly on behalf of Chinese women who face forced abortion and sterilization by the government. He has suffered deeply for speaking out against the One-Child Policy and its brutal enforcement. We call on China to abide by its own laws and uphold his rights. We call on the US to keep China accountable, and to protect Mr. Chen if he is indeed at the US Embassy."
The Christian organization, China Aid says:
Founder and president Bob Fu was in touch with Chen's friends and family and was told by a source who brought Chen to Beijing that he is not in any danger and is "100% safe." There is speculation that Chen is in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
ChinaAid was asked on Friday to convey to the outside world Chen's intention to "fight to the end for the freedom of my family inside China. I want to live a normal life as a Chinese citizen with my family." Meanwhile, police have arrested one of the friends who helped drive Chen on April 22 from his home in Dongshigu village, Shuanghou town, Linyi city, Shandong province to a safe location in another province. He Peirong was in communication with ChinaAid when she was arrested at her home in Nanjing, coastal Jiangsu province, on Friday at 11:11 a.m. She has not responded to later efforts to reach her.
ChinaAid has also learned that police have also taken into custody Chen's older brother and his nephew, Chen Guangfu and Chen Kegui, respectively. The father and son were taken from their home early Friday morning. Chen Kegui reportedly had stabbed some government officials who broke into his home early in the morning by climbing over the back wall and Chen, mistaking them for burglars, attacked them.
"We must report the true fact of this case and not let the Chinese propaganda machine spin this story as they see fit," said Fu. "We will stand with Chen and work with the international community and world media to fight for his freedom."
"We admire Chen's extraordinary courage and his unwavering desire to fight for the fundamental rights owed every Chinese citizen," Fu said. "We urge the U.S. government and other democratic nations to show the courage of their convictions and protect this brave rights defender."