Chinese officials are building a special prison to house forced abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng, who has been subjected to home detention and monitoring since his release from prison earlier this year.
Chen, who exposed a massive campaign of forced abortions and sterilizations in Linyi, China to the western world in an interview with the Washington Post, spent more than four years in prison for his “crime.” Family planning officials held a bogus trial on charges that Chen supposedly destroyed property in a local protest he never attended. During the trial, Chen’s attorneys were prevented from appearing.
Now, Reggie Littlejohn, an American human right activists who works closely with dissidents in China as the president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, reports that Chen, a blind attorney, and his wife, Yuan Weijing, will be transferred to a small prison built specifically for them. She cites a Radio Free Asia report which interviewed activist He Peirong, who stated the couple will be forcibly removed from their home and transferred to a building “which basically amounts to a jail” so that authorities can “keep tighter controls on them.”
They will be separated from their five-year-old daughter in the move, Littlejohn indicates, and their young son, who was living with relatives, was reportedly strip-searched leaving the family home.
“The Chinese Communist Party has already beaten and tortured Chen and his wife, denied them medical treatment, stolen their television, phone, computer and books, and appears to be slowly starving them to death,” Littlejohn said. “The couple is constantly surrounded by 66 guards and multiple surveillance cameras tracking their every move inside and outside their home.”
“Why is the CCP so threatened by a blind, sick, penniless man that they have to build a personal prison for him? They seek to make an example of Chen, to demonstrate how they will punish anyone who challenges their forced abortion policies. But they are really making an example of their own, shameful brutality,” Littlejohn added.
Bob Fu, the president of China Aid, another group that monitors the human rights abuses associated with the one-child policy and its opponents, also reacted to the news that Chen and his family would be imprisoned.
“The treatment of Chen Guangcheng and the torture and disappearance of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, are unconscionable,” he said. ” These are not the acts of a government that respects the rule of law.”
“Since the beginning of this year, the CCP has launched an offensive against human rights lawyers and activists, religious leaders, house church Christians and even dissident artists. We urge the release of those unjustly imprisoned, tortured and disappeared,” Fu continued.
Chen was arrested in 2006 for exposing evidence that 130,000 forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations were performed on women in Linyi County, Shandong Province in a single year. Time Magazine named him one of “2006’s Top 100 People Who Shape Our World.”
The news follows a controversial speech Vice President Joe Biden gave in which he failed to condemn the one-child policy or the forced abortions and human rights abuses associated with it.
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and China Aid are spearheading a campaign to free Chen, whose health is in serious jeopardy because of repeated beatings and malnutrition he suffers in house detention.
Chen exposed the fact that there were 130,000 forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations in Linyi County in 2005. The Chinese Communist Party imprisoned Chen for four years and three months and has kept him and his family under strict house arrest since September, 2010. His health is declining because of malnutrition, intestinal illness, repeated torture and the denial of medical treatment.
In a letter recently smuggled out of China Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing, said she was worried about his survival. Yuan has also been tortured and denied medical treatment.