Jailed Activist Against Forced Abortions in China May be Released From Prison

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 8, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Jailed Activist Against Forced Abortions in China May be Released From Prison

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
September 8
, 2010

Beijing, China (LifeNews.com) — Chen Guangcheng received international support when he was jailed on bogus charges after revealing to the world an extensive campaign of forced abortions and sterilizations in Linyi, China that saw as many as 10,000 women and men victimized.

Now, Chen’s wife Yuan says she believes he to finally be released from prison this week after spending four years in jail in difficult conditions.

Yuan Weijing told AFP says Chen is supposed to be released this week, but she has received no confirmation from local authorities that he will be set free.

"I have not received any notice from the prison but I plan to go to the prison tomorrow morning and wait at the gate to meet him," Yuan said. "Four years have passed, at last Chen Guangcheng can finally come home. Of course I am very happy."

Chen, a 39-year-old blind attorney was convicted of "wilfully harming public property" and "gathering masses to disturb traffic order," at a rally staged partly to support him but at which he reportedly did not attend.

Supporters clashed with police outside Chen’s home, where Yuan has been under partial house arrest and constant surveillance ever since.

Yuan tells AFP that local police have been setting up surveillance cameras outside his home and throughout their village that she says she believes are intended to monitor his whereabouts after his release.

"From all the surveillance equipment they are installing, it looks like that after he comes home he may not be completely free," Yuan said.

During his time in prison, Chen was reportedly denied access to medical treatment, poorly fed and at times beaten. Yuan was denied access to see her husband and not permitted to travel out of the country.

In February, Congressman Chris Smith nominated Chen and two other Chinese human rights activists for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. President Barack Obama, an ardent abortion advocate, won the prize last year.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives who are active on human rights issues joined Smith in nominating them.

Smith,in a letter to Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Norway, said Chen and the others are "outstanding for their human rights advocacy in China."

“For years, these three figures have called on their government to substantially improve its human rights record," Smith explained. "In so doing they have been remarkable for their patriotism, their civil courage, and the generous tone of their work, which has never sought to divide their country or cause civil conflict, but always to raise the Chinese people’s awareness of their dignity and rights, and to call their government to govern within its constitution, its laws, and the international human rights agreements it has signed."

In November, Chinese officials arrested Jiang Tianyong, one of Chen’s attorneys was arrested shortly after President Barack Obama departed China following his testimony to Congress about human rights abuses.


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