by Steven Ertelt
November 25, 2006
Beijing, China (LifeNews.com) — The wife of a leading attorney who is one of the lawyers for Chen Guangcheng, the activist who exposed a brutal family planning campaign, was beaten by Chinese police on Friday. The incident comes as Chen is awaiting a new trial this week on bogus charges that he damaged property in a protest.
Geng He, whose husband Gao Zhisheng is a leading human rights attorney helping Chen, was shopping in Beijing on Friday when she asked police who routinely follow her to quit harassing her.
The verbal confrontation led to a fight in which police apparently hit Geng in the face, according to a Reuters report.
"My mouth and my teeth are all bleeding, and a nail on my right hand was ripped," Geng said in a phone message she left for her friend Hu Jia, a Beijing-based activist.
"My coat was torn to pieces," she added in a rare phone call. Her phones are blocked but she occasionally calls Hu, who is under a political house arrest for his own activism.
Hu told Reuters that Geng said two police officers linked to China’s security force beat her but officials denied the incident occurred when the news service called them to inquire.
Geng’s husband Gao, is one of the attorneys helping Chen, the blind attorney who brought an international spotlight to the devastating forced abortion and sterilization campaign he exposed.
Chen told gave two American media outlets about the family planning campaign that included forced abortions and sterilizations of 10,000 women, and tactics by local family planning officials that included harassment, kidnapping and imprisonment.
After exposing the forced abortion campaign, Chen and his family were placed under house arrest and Chen was later charged with damaging property in a protest related to his house arrest, even though he wasn’t present at the rally.
In August, Chen was sentenced to over four years in prison in a trial that saw his attorneys detained and prevented from assisting him.
An appeal court ordered a retrial, but Chen’s attorneys are concerned it, too, will be unjust.
"We will certainly plead ‘not guilty’ because there’s no adequate evidence for either of the charges," Chen attorney Li Fangping told Reuters last week. "We hope this time to have an open and fair trial, but that is still just a cautious hope."
Li added that "Key testimony against Chen Guangcheng was obtained through torture" some of the witnesses for the prosecution have withdrawn their statements because of it. "All of them suffered grievous torture, and we want to show that to the court, but I’m not sure yet."
Still, they have been warned not to attend the trial according to Li and Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing.
Last week, Yuan told Reuters she was concerned she would not be able to attend the trial and is still blocked by local Linyi officials from leaving her home village. She was prevented from attending the first trial as well.
Yuan also told the Taipei Times newspaper she worries about an unfair trial.
"I’m worried because evidence and witnesses in his favor might not be allowed in court," she said. "Local officials are telling everybody not to tell the truth for Chen or they will be punished. They are very scared so they don’t want to say anything."
She said that local officials and "hooligans" they’ve hired continue to follow her everywhere she goes.
Despite the hoopla surrounding his case, Li said that Chen remains "relaxed" through it all
In Chen’s first trial, he was defended by state attorneys who some say argued against Chen and stood with local prosecutors representing the pro-forced abortion Linyi officials.