by Steven Ertelt
January 4, 2007
Linyi, China (LifeNews.com) — Shortly after Christmas the attorneys for Chen Guangcheng a leading advocates against the brutal campaign of forced abortions in China were beaten again. His attorneys have been the recipients of continued harassment and two lawyers were assaulted and prevented from visiting him.
Hu Jia, an activist in China who has been in touch with the attorneys, told the Associated Press they were on their way to see Chen at the time of the assault.
Li Fangping and Li Jingsong were traveling on a bus from Beijing to Linyi, an eastern Chinese city where Chen brought international exposure to family planning campaign that saw as many as 10,000 women become victims of forced abortions or sterilizations.
"Their bus was stopped by two cars on Tuesday and about eight unidentified men boarded the vehicle and attacked the lawyers with iron rods," Hu told the Associated Press.
Hu spoke with Li Jingsong after the attack and told AP "Li Fangping’s face was covered in blood."
Hu indicated that Li Fangping suffered head injuries and eventually fell unconscious while Li Jingsong sustained minor cuts and scrapes.
Li Jingsong called the police, but they never showed up. They eventually made their way to a local hospital to get patched up and then went back to Beijing.
There’s no information about why the attorneys were attacked, and AP reports that Linyi officials have denied any knowledge of them, but it’s commonplace for persecuted people to face harassment and assaults from local officials.
Last month, a Linyi court upheld the bogus sentence against Chen, who was charged with destroying property and disrupting traffic in a protest he never attended.
Chen, a blind attorney, 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 he 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. That court upheld its original conviction.
Li Fangping told Reuters after the verdict was released, "This is an evil sentence, and we are very furious about it."
Chen’s brother, the only family member allowed in the courtroom when the new decision as handed down, said the verdict was made in a 30-minute session where no witnesses or evidence were presented, according to a New York Times report.
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 were seen detaining another witness before the trial.
Li walked out of the courtroom midway through the hearing to protest the unfair nature of the proceedings.