China Police Take Chen Guangcheng’s Wife, Allow Thugs to Beat Supporter

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 11, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

China Police Take Chen Guangcheng’s Wife, Allow Thugs to Beat Supporter Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 11, 2006

Linyi, China ( — The situation in China continues to worsen for Chen Guangcheng and his supporters. Yesterday, reported that Chen will be tried next week on trumped up charges. Also on Monday, a Chen supporter was beaten as he approached Chen’s home and Chen’s wife was whisked away and interrogated.

That’s the latest in a series of moves designed to threaten Chen, his family, and supporters because Chen brought international attention to a family planning campaign in Linyi, an eastern Chinese city of 10 million people.

Local family planning officials had forced as many as 10,000 women to submit to abortions or sterilizations, and Chen, a blind attorney, exposed the campaign to the world in interviews last year with the Washington Post and Time magazine.

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

As a result of his actions, Chen was beaten and jailed, his family forced under house arrest, and attorneys and supporters who have been helping him have been assaulted.

On Monday, Hu Jia, a noted activist and Chen supporter, was walking towards Chen’s home when more than 30 people surrounded him and beat him for more than 30 minutes.

"His arm is hurt, but I don’t know how bad," Teng Biao, Chen’s lead attorney, told the Los Angeles Times newspaper about the incident.

Teng told the times that the police did nothing to stop the assault when they arrived on the scene. That’s similar to their inaction last week when they failed to stop thugs hired by local officials who tried to turn another Chen attorney’s car upside down as he tried to drive to Chen’s home to speak with his wife.

Instead of helping Hu, the police took away Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing for questioning.

The Times contacted local Linyi police and an unnamed official said there was no report of a beating or Yuan’s detainment or interrogation.

Last month, Chen released a statement from prison through his attorneys saying that local Linyi officials have told him that he could die in detention if he doesn’t confess the false charges.

Chen’s case has attracted more than a dozen lawyers who are helping him out, despite added restrictions from Beijing on attorneys assisting political prisoners. They told the Times they are building two cases — one for the courts and a public opinion case to help put pressure on Linyi officials.

"On the surface this may look like an ordinary case," said Li Jianqiang, another of Chen’s lawyers. "But this is actually a government taking revenge on an individual."

Attorneys say the Chinese government is turning a blind eye because it often allows local governments great leeway in putting down political unrest. They also say leading Chinese officials have been lied to about Chen’s situation.

"They’re afraid of information getting out," Li, who has received deaths threats, said of Linyi officials. "They don’t want the leadership in Beijing to know the truth about what’s happening there."

Linyi officials have persuaded some top Chinese leaders that Chen’s efforts are supported by overseas groups and they successfully lobbied the Foreign Ministry and the powerful Propaganda Department to ban any discussion of Chen’s case in the state media or on the Internet.

Li has only been allowed to meet with Chen once and was prohibited from discussing the case with him.

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.

After the house arrest ended, Chen, and others who were helping him file a class action lawsuit against Linyi officials, protested his treatment. Linyi police arrested him and indicted him under the faked charges.

He has been detained at an undisclosed location ever since and Linyi police have placed Chen’s mother, wife and child under house arrest.

"There isn’t much hope," said Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing, told the Washington Post via telephone from their home recently.

"Everything that has happened runs counter to Hu Jintao’s talk of democracy and governing by law. We live in a nation without law, a nation without morality," she explained.

Top U.S. officials have pressed the Chinese government to release Chen, but national officials have not intervened. Linyi officials, in late May, prevented two senior U.S. diplomats from trying to visit Yuan.

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

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