by Steven Ertelt
August 24, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A Chinese activist who brought international attention to a brutal campaign of forced abortions and sterilizations against thousands of women has been jailed on trumped up charges. Chen Guangcheng was sentenced to four years and three months in prison for participating in protests against the Linyi government putting his supporters under house arrest.
Officials in the eastern Chinese city of 10 million claimed Chen was guilty of "damaging property and organizing a mob to disturb traffic" during the protests.
Chen was put on trial last week in what observers called a bizarre display of injustice. His attorneys were arrested and prevented from attending the trial and Chen was appointed two state lawyers who knew nothing of his case.
Chen’s wife Yuan told Reuters she figured Chen would be sent to prison but was surprised at the length of his sentenced.
"I thought they were going to sentence him even though he’s innocent, but I never expected such a heavy sentence," said.
Li Fangping, one of Chen’s attorneys prevented from attending the trial told the Associated Press he was outraged by the prison sentence.
"The whole justice system has acted totally illegally in Chen Guangcheng’s case," he said.
Chen brought the forced abortion family planning campaign to the attention of American media outlets and said as many as 10,000 women in the province were forced to have abortions or sterilized against their will. Chinese media frequently censor news coming from the Asian nation.
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.
Chen was later arrested on trumped up charges related to a protest of the house arrests of his family and others. Last year he was organizing a class action lawsuit against the Linyi government when he started coming under persecution.
Local officials were prepared to hold a trial last month, but delayed it for unknown reasons.
Chen’s 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.
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.
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.
Diplomats representing the Bush administration have pressed for Chen’s release on three separate occasions.
ACTION: Contact China’s embassy in the United States and encourage officials there to help Chen Guangcheng. You can find contact information at