Activist Against Forced Abortions in China Sues Local Officials

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 11, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Activist Against Forced Abortions in China Sues Local Officials Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 11, 2005

Linyi, China ( — A blind, self-educated attorney who put an international spotlight on a brutal campaign in Linyi, China to forcibly abort or sterilize thousands of women who had second pregnancies is suing local officials who have placed him under house arrest.

Chen Guangcheng, 34, was detained and has twice been beaten for attempting to leave his home after Linyi officials forced him to stay in his home after meeting with reporters from Time Magazine and the Washington Post.

On Wednesday, one of his attorneys said he filed a lawsuit against two local officials on Chen’s behalf. Teng Biao said the officials have cut off his phone line, confiscated his computer and letters and have tried to prevent him from having any contact with the outside world.

Teng filed the lawsuit at the Yinan County People’s Court against the deputy head and another township official for beating Chen and directing other officials to beat him as well.

The actions come after authories in Beijing closed down the law firm that was helping Chen.

According to Amnesty International, Beijing authorities shut down the Shengzhi Law Office for a period of one year. That action comes on the heels of a letter the firm sent to Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao urging them to end the persecution of some religious people.

"Shengzhi Law Office is one of a small number of law firms in China which has taken on cases involving human rights issues, and Amnesty International is concerned that this suspension will severely undercut the work of human rights activists in the country," the group said in a press release.

Gao Zhisheng, director of the firm, received an official notice from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice on November 4 informing him of the temporary closure of the firm.

According to Chinese authorities, the official reason was because of the firm’s failure to disclose a change of address and the "illegal" submission of legal papers by an attorney who no longer works for the firm.