by Steven Ertelt
June 22, 2007
Beijing, China (LifeNews.com) — A blind attorney who has been one of the leading activists in China against forced abortions and was jailed on bogus property destruction charges has been severely beaten. Human rights groups say prison officials ordered fellow inmates to beat him after he resisted having his head shaved and insisted on his legal rights.
Chen went to prison on the trumped up charges after an initial trial and appeal during which his attorneys were prevented from attending and witnesses were coerced into not testifying.
Amnesty International, which recently upset pro-life advocates by adopting a pro-abortion position, released the information about the attach on Chen.
AI officials say they’re concerned about Chen’s well-being and it fears for his life as the torture and abuse could continue.
According to a statement from AI, Chen told his wife after he refused to shave his head that "six other prisoners had pushed him to the floor, encouraged by prison guards, and hit and kicked him hard."
Officials in the city of Linyi targeted Chen and his family after he exposed a brutal family planning campaign there involving thousands of women who became victims of forced abortions or sterilizations.
The group also said prison officials are withholding medical treatment.
"He has since begun a hunger strike in protest, refusing water as well as food," the human rights group explained. "He said he was being punished for ‘being disobedient’ due to his insistence on filing an appeal to the provincial higher court."
Amnesty says prison wardens refuse to let Chen’s attorney or his wife visit him for more than 30 minutes every month, which is making the completion of the paperwork for the appeal a difficult process.
The human rights group complained about Chen’s treatment, especially so close to the beginning of the 2008 Summer Olympics, which will take place in China.
"The Chinese authorities must stop the persecution of people who stand up for human rights; as the Olympic Games draw closer, the world will be watching to see whether human rights promises have been honored. At present they have not," it said.