Attorney for China Activist Against Forced Abortions Attacked in His Vehicle

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 28, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Attorney for China Activist Against Forced Abortions Attacked in His Vehicle Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 28, 2006

Shuanghou Village, China ( — An attorney for a Chinese activist who brought international attention to a local campaign where family planning officials forced as many as 10,000 women to submit to abortions or sterilizations has been attacked. Li Jinsong said more than a dozen people prevented him from visiting Chen Guangcheng’s wife to gather information to defend him.

Chen has been charged by local officials with intent to destroy public property and disrupt commerce and transport.

The charges come from a protest in his hometown in February against his house arrest. Officials arrested Chen last year and forced him to stay in his home for months before finally arresting him on the trumped up charges.

Li told Reuters that he attempted to drive to Chen’s house to meet with Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing.

However, he said local officials posted more than a dozen people to stand guard and they tipped his vehicle over when he tried to enter Shuanghou Village, a part of the city of Linyi, where Chen lives.

Li and a colleague were inside the vehicle at the time and it landed on its side. The pair escaped, but a colleague’s video footage of the incident was taken.

"After I called the police and they came and did nothing, I felt afraid, because I saw how uncontrollable local officials can be," Li told Reuters about what transpired.

Li told Reuters that not being able to visit with Yuan will make it more difficult to defend Chen, who is being held at an undisclosed location, against the charges.

"If I can’t see her (Chen’s wife) or the charge notice, I don’t see how I can fully and effectively defend Chen," he said.

Li said his vehicle was scratched and dented and one of the windows was broken as a result of the attack. Hu Jia, another human rights activists in China, attempted to videotape the incident, but he was forced to flee when local officials went after him.

Li has also been physically accosted in recent days and detained by local officials.

Ignoring the potential danger and political troubles for themselves, a group of prominent Beijing lawyers have banded together to take up Chen’s case. nat2363.html

Chen, who is blind and an attorney himself, had been organizing a class action lawsuit against the city of Linyi at the time of his initial arrest.

He exposed the events of the forced abortions and sterilizations in Linyi in interviews with Time Magazine and the Washington Post and local Linyi officials apprehended him shortly thereafter.

Anyone who attempted to flee was apprehended, beaten, and held hostage in city prisons until their relatives came forward and paid large fines for their release.

Chen and his wife and 71 year-old mother were under house arrest beginning in September last year. The officials cut his telephone lines and used specialized equipment to prevent him from using his cell phone.

Chen has been beaten twice when he’s attempted to leave and attorneys and supporters who have taken up Chen’s case have been attacked as well.

National officials in Beijing have condemned the Linyi campaign but refused to assist Chen in defending himself against city officials.

Linyi is a city of 10 million people 400 miles southeast of Beijing.

ACTION: Contact China’s embassy in the United States and encourage officials there to help Chen Guangcheng. You can find contact information at