China: Blind activist and family tortured and beaten for opposing one-child policy

According to the ChinaAid advocacy group, Chinese communist authorities subjected blind activist Chen Guangcheng and his family to a brutal four-hour beating. Chen's wife, Yuan Weijing, provided details of the assault. There has been little news of Guangcheng otherwise for several months. A video gave some idea of the scale of the beating, which took place in July 2011.
 
The beating, which was witnessed by the couple's elementary school-age son, is but one episode in a pattern of horrific persecution against Chen - according to ChinaAid,  because he had exposed the violent and deadly measures used by Chinese authorities to enforce the nation's one-child policy. The couple endured a similarly brutal beating in February 2011 after they had smuggled out a videotape documenting their house arrest following Chen's release from prison. (See :www.chinaaid.org/2011/06/detained-blind-activist-chen-guangcheng.html.)


ChinaAid reports that the July beating occurred after a storm knocked out equipment that authorities had installed in Chen's house to cut off all their telecommunications contact with the outside world. With the equipment disabled, Chen was able to make phone calls on July 25, but the calls were intercepted by authorities. On July 28, Shuanghou town mayor Zhang Jian led a group of people to Chen's home and beat and tortured the couple for four hours.
 
According to the advocacy group, the sequence of events was as follows:

•2 p.m. -- authorities clear out everyone from Chen's village


 •3 p.m. -- authorities conduct an exhaustive search of Chen's home and find a phone card in a pile of ashes


 •4 p.m. -- authorities start the beating. Chen's screams of pain were heard first, while his wife Yuan Weijing was heard shouting angrily and their son Kesi cried. After a while, Weijing's screams could also be heard. From then until 8 p.m., the only sounds were screams of pain.
 

Some time later, a village doctor was permitted to give Chen some cursory medical treatment.
 
During the four-hour beating, Chen's elderly mother, who lives with them, was prevented from entering their home. When she was finally allowed to go in, neighbors heard her burst into tears, and her anguished cries -- described as "gut-wrenching to hear" -- continued for a long time.
 
According to the source, Zhang tortured Chen to try to get him to tell how he got the phone card to make the calls on July 25 and to reveal where he had hidden it. When Chen and his wife refused to give any details, their house was ransacked until the phone card was found in a pile of ashes.
 
Then the mayor's men beat Chen and his wife in the presence of their son Kesi.

ChinaAid's founder and president Bob Fu said, "We condemn the Shandong authorities for their extreme brutality against innocent blind Chinese legal activist Guangcheng Chen  and his wife." Fu added, "The Chinese government's brutality against brave individuals like Mr. Chen who promote the rule of law should certainly make the world seriously doubt the sincerity of the Chinese government's commitment to international human rights," Fu said.
 
Chen was imprisoned for four years and three months for exposing the violent measures used to enforce China's one-child policy, including forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations that in his county alone in 2005 numbered 130,000.
 
Since his release from prison in Sept. 2010, Chen has been kept under illegal house arrest, denied medical treatment for serious intestinal problems and deprived of all contact with the outside world. Reporters and activists who have tried to visit him have been roughed up and turned away. It had been rumoured that Chen had been killed by Chinese authorities. 
 
On July 21, the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed an amendment to the State Department 2012 appropriation bill supporting Chen and his wife.

Info: www.chinaaid.org/2011/07/amendment-for-blind-activist-chen.html.)


 



Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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