Family of China Activist Against Force Abortions Abducted, Lawyers Meet Chen

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 4, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Family of China Activist Against Force Abortions Abducted, Lawyers Meet Chen Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 4, 2006

Linyi, China ( — Local authorities who have detained Chen Guangcheng, an activist against forced abortions, have snatched his elderly mother and three-year old son from Beijing and forced them to live under house arrest near Chen’s home. Meanwhile, Chen’s attorneys have finally been allowed to meet with him to help him with his case.

They were taken to the house of Chen’s older brother, Chen Guangfu, who told Radio Free Asia that they have been prohibited from leaving even though Chen’s mother has become ill.

"Mother said she had a headache and was feeling unwell, so requested permission to go to the hospital. But they refused, sending a doctor to look at her instead," he told RFA.

Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing, who has been under tight surveillance at their home in Yinan county, said the number of local officials who have been standing guard outside her door has increased now that a team of attorneys is in town to try to help Chen.

Since Chen’s mother and son have been abducted, she has not been allowed out of the house.

“I haven’t been allowed out since they were kidnapped,” Yuan told Radio Free Asia. “They haven’t allowed me to go grocery shopping since June 13…Now their numbers have increased. There are 10 or 12 people outside my door right now."

Chen, a blind attorney, got in trouble with local officials last year when he exposed the nightmare events of the forced abortions and sterilizations in Linyi in interviews with Time Magazine and the Washington Post. Local family planning officials had forced as many as 10,000 women to submit to abortions or sterilizations.

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.

He had been organizing a class action lawsuit against the city of Linyi at the time of his initial arrest.

Chen and his attorneys have been repeatedly attacked or harassed by local officials, including an incident last week where attorneys Li Jinsong and Zhang Linhui were turned sideways in their vehicle as officials attempted to flip it over. nat2381.html

Attorneys were finally allowed to meet with Chen last Wednesday to help prepare his defense in the case against him.

“We met Chen at noon today,” Zhang told Radio Free Asia. “His health is not bad. There are no visible signs of damage to him. He is focused and determined. He’s doing well.”

He said local authorities have prevented him from releasing any more information to the media.

Zhang told RFA that attempts to secure freedom for Chen based on his disability have not gone over well.

“We wanted them to use different methods of presenting evidence for Chen, like recordings, because he’s blind, and we were told we needed to get the approval of the detention center police. But they said they were not concerned with this issue,” Zhang said.

Amnesty International in Hong Kong has been monitoring the Chen case and given information to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, AIHK spokeswoman Yan Chen told RFA.

"I think that this will increase the level of international concern regarding Chen’s case," she said.

Meanwhile, a group of democratic activists rallied together and wore blindfolds and t-shirts with Chen’s picture. They walked the streets of Beijing asking that Chen be freed.

"By standing in the streets of Beijing wearing T-shirts and blind folds today, we are showing our respect to Mr. Chen and calling for justice through artistic measures," Zhao Xin, executive director of the Empowerment and Rights Institute, said in an interview.

"Many farmers were forced by the government to become sterile, have abortions, and some were even beaten," Zhao said about the forced abortion campaign in Linyi that Chen exposed.

"He is helping these people, working for human rights," Zhao said. "However, because the evil government sees this as a revolt he was persecuted, illegally detained, and beaten."

Chen and his wife and 70 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.

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