by Steven Ertelt
August 25, 2006
Linyi, China (LifeNews.com) — Chen Guangcheng was sentenced yesterday to four years and three months in prison after a local court convicted the activist of destroying property in a protest. Chen’s brother Chen Guangfu discussed the illegal trial and the trumped up charges the local government used to convict a man who exposed its brutal forced abortion campaign.
Officials in Linyi, an eastern Chinese city of 10 million people, had their eyes on Chen for years.
A blind attorney, Chen had spoken up for the rights of property owners, farmers and laborers who got the shaft from the government. But his exposing the city’s brutal enforcement of the nation’s coercive one-child family planning policy was the last straw.
When Chen told the world how local authorities forced more than 10,000 women to have abortions or be sterilized against their well, Linyi officials sentenced Chen to house arrest.
Upset with their retaliation against Chen, Linyi residents protested in the streets and some property was damaged during the demonstrations. Wanting to make an example out of Chen and to prosecute him for his legal actions for the people, the government charged Chen with the destruction of the property.
Chen’s brother told Asia News the charges were illegal.
"My brother was not involved at all," he said. "He is blind and was not allowed to come out of the house — how could he incite people to damage a car?"
He also told Asia News the charges were too severe for very minor property damage.
"Even if he had damaged the property, the damage amounted to 5,440 yuan (682 dollars). Is this sum worth such a heavy penalty of four years in prison?" he asked.
Chen’s brother talked about the events of the trial, which turned China into an international laughingstock because local authorities jailed Chen’s attorneys shortly before it began and prevented them from attending any part of it.
“The authorities appointed two lawyers to represent him, but all they said in the court was, ‘We have no objection’," Chen’s brother indicated.
Chen refused to speak during the trial to protest the detention of his attorneys. But the judge interpreted his silence as acquiescence to the charges.
Yuan Weijing, Chen’s wife, said his family would appeal the sentence, but Chen will not likely win his case on appeal if local officials prevent his attorneys from representing him.