Brother of Jailed China Forced Abortion Opponent Threatened Over Interviews

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 15, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Brother of Jailed China Forced Abortion Opponent Threatened Over Interviews

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 15
, 2008

Beijing, China ( — The brother of a blind attorney who is one of the leading figures against forced abortions in China has been threatened for giving interviews to Western media outlets. Meanwhile, the family of Chen Guangcheng was prohibited from visiting him in jail recently.

Chen is a lawyer from Linyi who was preparing to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of women who were forced to have abortions or be sterilized in a massive family planning campaign.

After Chen exposed the brutal forced abortion campaign in Linyi in interviews with American media outlets, local officials imprisoned him on trumped up charges.

Chen’s family hoped to visit him during the Beijing Paralympic Games, but they were denied permission even though Chinese officials had promised media interviews during the games.

According to Radio Free Asia, Chen’s eldest brother, Chen Guangfu, hoped to visit on September 11 and his elderly mother and daughter, Kesi, came along. When they arrived at the prison, officials told them the family visitation day had been postponed.

“The family visit days at the prison were scheduled to be September 11 and September 12. While waiting in line and registering, we found out that the visit days have been changed to September 27 and September 28," Chen Guangfu told RFA. "It seemed that most other people had received the notice of the change, but we did not.”

After leaving the prison, Chen Guangfu’s neighbor called him and said reporters had stopped by his home to interview him about Chen’s imprisonment. However, some of the 40 local police who are stationed outside his home and that of Chen’s wife Yuan, scared them off.

Chen Guangfu was only able to meet with them for a few minutes before the local thus that have kept Yuan under virtual house arrest made them leave.

“I met with the reporters for a few minutes. [They] asked me about Yuan’s current situation of being monitored and her cell phone being blocked," Chen Guangfu told RFA.

He indicated three vehicles without license plates eventually followed the reporters after they left.

Afterwards, local family planning and Communist Party officials apprehended Chen Guangfu and asked him about his conversation with the reporters, which they said had been recorded.

He told RFA, “They threatened me, saying, ‘accepting interviews from foreign reporters is a serious violation of law. We could have you arrested for this.’”

He said the interrogation lasted an hour and that the officials told him the media interviews had to be approved by them even though national officials said they would be allowed during the games.

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