GOP lawmaker calls emergency Thursday hearing on Chen

"The Obama administration must do everything it can to ensure that Chen Guangcheng, his family members and all those who have helped him are removed from harm's way and do not suffer any further abuse or retaliation for Chen’s bold and courageous efforts to save his family and improve human rights for all in China," Smith said on Wednesday.

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"The secretary of State should visit Chen while he is in the hospital — as a direct act of solidarity and to ensure his safety," he added, referring to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's ongoing meetings in China. "And U.S. Embassy officials should re-interview Chen and his family to ensure that comments made under duress or based on misinformation do not result in sending him back to a place where he is tortured and beaten and could easily be killed."

Smith chairs a commission that was established in 2001 to monitor human rights and the development of rule of law in China, and submits annual reports to Congress on its findings. The commission will meet Thursday at 2 p.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, and will hear from various human- and women's-rights advocates.

"Witnesses will discuss details of the previous detention of Chen and his family under an illegal form of 'house arrest,' as well as his escape to seek safety at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing," Smith's office said in a statement announcing the hearing. "In addition, witnesses will also address Chen's legal advocacy work."

The commission is made up of seven House members, seven senators and five members of the executive branch.