by Steven Ertelt
November 1, 2006
Beijing, China (LifeNews.com) — A Chinese court has thrown out the bogus sentence against Chen Guangcheng, the blind attorney who brought international attention to a massive forced abortion and sterilization campaign that occurred in the eastern city of Linyi. Chen had been sentenced by a local court on trumped up charges and faced over four years in jail.
Chen’s case drew international attention and had been condemned by pro-life groups, President Bush, and Amnesty International.
According to a BBC news report, the Linyi City Intermediate Court overturned the sentence and ordered a retrial.
Chen’s attorneys were prevented from representing him during the initial trial, which saw Chen convicted of bogus charges that he destroyed public property during a protest he did not attend.
Successful appeals in the Chinese judicial system are very rare and Chen’s family, supporters and attorneys are very surprised and pleased by the results.
Li Jingsong, a Chen attorney, told the Associated Press that his case will now go back to a lower court in Yinan County and the new trial is expected to take place in two months.
Chinese media continue to misrepresent Chen’s case and the official Xinhua news agency reported that Chen had coordinated an attack on government offices and police cars because he was upset with workers engaging in a program to help poor local residents.
However, Linyi officials forced Chen and his family into home confinement after he gave interviews to Time magazine and the Washington Post in which he described how the local government forced more than 10,000 women to submit to forced abortions and sterilizations.
Linyi officials beat many women and subjected the families of some women to violence, imprisonment or loss of rights if they didn’t turn over some women who fled or were in hiding.
The persecution of Chen by the local government started shortly after the interviews.
Chinese officials eventually disciplined some of the family planning officials involved, but Chen’s lawyers say local officials have persuaded some in the Chinese government to take their side by claiming that Chen is receiving help from anti-government forces and groups in other nations.