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  • » 04/16/2013, 00.00

    CHINA

    To punish dissidents, party arrests children, even ten-year-olds

    Reggie Littlejohn

    Every day, Anne Zhang went to school. One day she was arrested there by four strangers and jailed without food, water or news from her family. Her crime was being the daughter of Zhang Lin, who had complained about corruption in the Anhui provincial government. The president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers slams the incident.

    Hefei (AsiaNews) - February 27, 2013 began like any other school day for ten-year-old Zhang Anne.  Little did she know that this day she would be ordered to the principal's office, whisked away by four unidentified men, and detained without food or water, and without knowing where her father was, for 20 hours.  Anni's crime?  Her father, activist Zhang Lin, had exposed government corruption.

    I had the rare privilege of speaking directly with Anne and her father on a national internet radio program broadcast throughout China Saturday evening.  Their story filled me with indignation. Anne has still not been allowed to return to school.  No legitimate government would detain, starve and deny education to a ten-year-old.

    According to her father, their case has sparked national outrage in China.  Five hundred people have dropped their jobs and travelled to demonstrate outside Anni's former school, the Hupo Elementary School in Heifei.  Some protesters are hunger striking.  Zhang says he is deeply touched by the love and sacrifice of these supporters.

    Those demonstrating are showing not only love for Zhang and Anne, but also the awakening of an increasingly bold contempt for the Chinese Communist Party's brutal persecution of the children of dissidents.  Such persecution is routine in China.  Blind activist Chen Guangcheng's son had to move away from his parents in order to go to school.  His daughter was only allowed to go to school after intense domestic and international pressure was applied.  Now, the Chinese Communist Party has detained and tortured Chen Guangcheng's nephew, Chen Kegui.

    I believe that the Chinese Communist Party persecutes, detains and tortures the families of dissidents in an attempt to silence them.  The CCP will commit serious human rights violations against children to stifle freedom of speech.  This is state-sponsored child abuse.

    Activist Zhang Lin participated in the 1989 democracy protests in Anhui Province. A prolific dissident writer, he has been jailed multiple times and subjected to continuous monitoring, according to an HRIC report.

    Meanwhile, Anne was fearless and articulate in speaking with me on national radio. Her father commented, "Anne is strong. She has been dealing with the police since she was two years old.  She knows how to handle them."

    What an extraordinary girl. It was an honour to speak with her. I told her, "Be brave, be true, be humble, and one day you will help lead your people to freedom."

    With 1.3 billion people living in China, one fifth of the population on earth, the world will not be free until the people of China are free.

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    See also

    29/08/2013 CHINA
    Woman forced to abort at nine months because her husband already had a child
    Lili Zeng underwent induced labour, and a lethal injection was made on the child's skull. In spite of all this, he was born alive, only to die in his mother's arms. The woman's husband forced the operation on her after he left her. He already had a son from a previous marriage. Women's Rights Without Frontiers slams what happened.

    07/05/2015 CHINA
    One-child in China: two stories with a happy ending
    US human rights activist Reggie Littlejohn tells AsiaNews how Women's Rights Without Frontiers managed to save two women and their children.

    25/01/2013 CHINA - UNITED STATES
    With its one-child policy, China has killed 400 million children, now it is enough
    The US pro-life movement recognises Reggie Littlejohn for her work against China's one-child policy. She wonders where "the pro-choice movement" stands on the issue, whether "forced abortion and sterilisation" ordered by the Communist Party are a choice. United, victory is possible.

    21/09/2013 ITALY - USA - CHINA
    Reggie Littlejohn: The One-Child Law, the Party’s tool to stay in power
    The American activist founder of Women 's Rights Without Frontiers, tells AsiaNews the story of how her battle against China’s family planning policies begun, her ongoing fight to stop forced abortions and forced sterilizations . Because of birth control, Littlejohn explains, "the Chinese local system is in danger of collapse ."

    14/02/2005 CHINA
    Dissident arrested, disappears
    Zhang Lin tried to visit Zhao Ziyang's house to pay his respects to the late leader's family. He was not allowed in and was arrested on his way home.



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