Chinese Activist Against Forced Abortions, Chen Guangcheng, Leaves Prison

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

Chinese Activist Against Forced Abortions, Chen Guangcheng, Leaves Prison

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 9
, 2010

Linyi, China ( — Chen Guangcheng, the blind attorney who spent more than four years in prison on trumped up charges following his international exposure of a massive campaign of forced abortions and sterilizations that victimized as many as 10,000 people, has finally been released from prison.

Chen spent the last 4 years and three months in the Liyin City in Shangdong Province after he was found guilty of charges of inciting a riot and destroying property at a rally in his support that he didn’t attend.

During the two-hour trial, local officials prevented his attorneys from helping him and blocked their access to the venue. A few of his five attorneys were physically assaulted by local authorities while others were detained themselves.

The Washington Post indicated Chen was released back to his home in Dongshigu, near Linyi, and dozens of plainclothes police stood guard at both the entrance to his village and around his house.

Chen’s wife, who had talked with AFP on Wednesday about the impending released of her husband, could no longer be found and the Post indicated the family’s telephone and cell phone service had been suspended.

"The plainclothes police brought him early this morning at six o’clock. Everyone saw it," said one of Chen’s neighbors, who asked the newspaper to keep her name confidential because she feared reprisal.

Another friend said Chen cried when he was reunited with his family but prison had ruined his health. He was beaten by officials and other inmates and had chronic diarrhea.

The friend told the Post that Chen would likely continue fighting for those victimized by the forced abortion campaigns but he would perhaps do so in a different way.

"He asked me to convey his thanks for all the friends who cared about him," Chen’s friend said. "We didn’t talk much about the future. He’s trying to restart his life now. But I suspect prison has not changed his core beliefs. If there is any change, it will be a change of tactics."

Reporters from the Associated Press tried to interview other villagers, who said they both welcome Chen’s return and fear local officials who are targeting him and his village, but authorities ran off the reporters and prevented them from talking to residents.

One person did tell the news outlet that Chen will not be allowed to leave his home and there is no indication of how long he will be under house arrest.

Chen first gained notoriety when he divulged the forced abortion and sterilization campaign to the Post. He had been preparing a class action lawsuit on behalf of numerous victims — women subjected to late-term abortions when found to have had more than one child and men who fathered the baby subjected to sterilizations.

Such abuses are technically illegal in China, though they occur with alarming frequency. Yet, after senior national Chinese leaders heard of the Linyi abuses, Chen was jailed on bogus charges and his wife and family were persecuted and subjected to house arrest.

The family planning campaigns continue as officials in Puning City launched a campaign in April to sterilize as many as 10,000 people accused of violating the one-child population control rule.


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