China Court Postpones Trial of Blind Activist Against Forced Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 20, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

China Court Postpones Trial of Blind Activist Against Forced Abortions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 20, 2006

Linyi, China ( — A Chinese court on Thursday postponed the trial of a blind activist who, along with his family, has been subject to brutality and imprisonment for his international campaign against forced abortions. Chen Guangcheng has been harassed by local Chinese officials in the eastern city of Linyi since he exposed a brutal family planning campaign.

The local court said prosecutors sought to postpone the case against Chen, his attorney Li Jingsong said. A new date for the trial has not been set.

The Associated Press spoke to a representative of Shandong’s Yinan County Intermediate Court who wouldn’t give his name but confirmed the trial had been delayed.

Li, a member of a legal team of a dozen attorneys trying to help Chen, told AP that he visited the activist on Wednesday at a detention center where local officials are holding him.

"He seemed to be in pretty good shape physically and mentally," Li said.

The trial comes after Chen exposed a family planning campaign that involved officials forcing as many as 10,000 women to submit to abortions or sterilizations. Chen brought international attention to the travesty with interviews in 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.

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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