by Steven Ertelt
November 28, 2006
Linyi, China (LifeNews.com) — The wife of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who is on trial for bogus charges after exposing a brutal family planning campaign, was detained by police just one day after his retrial. Chen has come under intense harassment from local officials for exposing how they forced as many as 10,000 women to have abortions or sterilizations.
Yuan Weijing said police apprehended her on Tuesday after she left a court in Shandong province’s Yinan County to sign some documents.
Yuan, who was allowed to attend Chen’s second trial after being prevented from doing so the first time, said several local police officers told her they wanted to question her.
"They said they wanted to talk to me about some matters, but refused to say what they were," Yuan told the Associated Press. "This is a serious trampling of Chinese law."
Yuan made those comments in an interview from the courthouse and abruptly said she had to hang up. Attempts by AP to contact her later in the day were unsuccessful.
Li Jinsong, one of Chen’s attorneys, said he was with Yuan when she was taken away.
"Seven or eight plainclothes policemen came and took her away," Li said. "They showed me the police summons."
Calls to the police station in Yinan County from AP were not returned.
Chen and his family and supporters have been confined to their homes, been beaten, by local officials, local police and thugs hired by them ever since he broke the forced abortion scandal.
On Monday, Chen had a second trial over bogus charges that he damaged property and blocked traffic in a protest.
He was convicted in August and sentenced to more than four years in prison for the supposed crimes but a retrial of the case saw the same persecution as before. After Chen, a blind attorney, was convicted the first time, an appeals court overturned the conviction, citing inadequate evidence and sent it back to the lower court in Yinan County.
The original trial was a sham where Chen’s attorneys were detained before it began and he was appointed two state lawyers who knew nothing of his case and did little to defend him.
This time, Chen’s attorneys were able to attend, but two key witnesses disappeared and local authorities, who have constantly harassed Chen, his family and attorneys, were seen detaining another witness before the trial.
Li Jinsong, the attorney who was with Yuan when she was unlawfully detained today, walked out of the courtroom midway through the hearing to protest the unfair nature of the proceedings.
Li said two key witnesses couldn’t be located for the hearing and he said he saw a third, Chen Guanghe, taken away by people he described as local police or thugs hired by them.
"Our witnesses were prepared to make clear that the evidence against Chen Guangcheng was based on forced confessions of several people who do not stand by their accusations against him,” Li told reporters. “Those witnesses were prevented from attending the trial, and I believe we are headed toward another wrongful conviction.”
Reuters called the local police for information on the apprehension and were told they knew nothing of it.
Li also said that he was prevented from gathering more evidence in the case and said about 30 local officials in Chen’s home town of Dongshigu.
Li told Reuters he asked for a suspension in the case, citing the problems, and the court refused it.
“I left the court to protest the way they have trampled the law and the dignity of the law,” Li said.
A verdict in the trial is expected in a month and Li said he hoped the court would drop the more serious charge of organizing a mob to disrupt traffic, but thought the court would convict Chen on the charge of damaging property, which could land him in jail for seven months.
China’s official media outlet reported that Chen was charged because he was upset the government sent workers to poor villages to distribute food. However, Chen never attended the protest where the crimes were allegedly committed.
Instead, Chen and his family came under intense persecution following his interviews with Time and the Washington Post about a brutal family planning campaign conducted in the eastern city of Linyi.
There, local officials forced as many as 10,000 women to undergo abortions or sterilizations and jailed or harassed family members who refused to turn in women targeted in the campaign.
Chen, who taught himself law though he has been blind since childhood, was organizing a class-action lawsuit against the government at the time his persecution began.