The human rights organization ChinaAid has obtained a letter from Yuan Weijing, the wife of blind attorney and forced abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng on Wednesday that offers details, for the first time, of the torture and beatings both have faced.
Chen is credited with further exposing the brutal forced abortion and sterilizations campaigns that took place in his home city of Linyi that saw thousands of people victimized by family planning officials enforcing the nation’s one-child policy prohibiting couples from having a second child. After he gave interviews to the Washington Post and filed a class action lawsuit on their behalf, Chinese officials arrested him on bogus charges and he was imprisoned.
The letter Yuan sent to ChinaAid followed recorded video footage the organization released in February showing how both Chen and his wife have been badly wounded. Chen’s mother is also under video surveillance by Chinese officials and their five-year-old daughter lost her freedom to move without government scrutiny in February.
Yuan’s letter says that, on February 18, “led by the vice secretary of the Communist Party of Shuanghou Town, Zhang Jian and some National Security Policemen, a group of 70-80 guys stormed through my home gate. They beat and tortured my husband Chen Guangcheng and me for more than two hours.”
“Without showing any legal documents and without any of them wearing a uniform, they plundered almost everything from my home. My husband and I were wounded severely, yet not allowed to leave home for any medical aid,” Yuan explained. “More than 10 men covered me totally with a blanket and kicked my ribs and all over my body. After half an hour’s non-stop torture, I finally squeezed my head out of the blanket. I saw more than 10 men surrounded Chen Guangcheng, torturing him.”
“Some of them twisted his arms forcefully while the others pushing his head down and lifting his collar up tightly. Given his poor health condition of long-time diarrhea, Guangchen was not able to resist and passed out after more than two hours of torture,” Yuan’s letter continues. “My left eyebrow bone and one of my bottom left ribs might be broken. My left eye lost vision for 5-6 days because of the bruise, blood in the white of my eye, and swollenness. Even today, I still can not stand with my body straight and I suffer pain when breathing. At the same time we were being tortured, the other men performed a thorough search with all kinds of their detective equipment. They took away our computer, video camera, audio tape recorder, all of our chargers, and even flashlights, etc.”
“When they were searching, they kept silent. None of them had uniforms on, neither did they show any legal document to us. They did not even give us a receipt for the confiscated items of our family property. Before their departure, Zhang Jian said to us that they were following orders from higher-level officials, and he expected we understood that without his explanation. He ordered those men to drop us on the ground, and left with them,” Yuan continued.
The Chinese officials prohibited the couple from obtaining proper medical care following the beatings.
“We had to stay in bed because of the wounds, having difficulties turning around our bodies. We had no access to any medical aid. On Feb 19 they only allowed me to get a one-time IV injection from a village doctor. No more medical aid afterward,” Yuan said in the letter to ChinaAid.
Following the beatings, officials have been busy trying to limit the couple’s contact with the outside world.
“On March 3, they sealed our windows with sheets of metal. On March 6 they cut off electric power. At midnight of March 7, the guards crept into our home and cut off our TV antenna. In the morning of March 8, the electric power was back. On the same day, Zhang Jiang led 40-50 men storming into my home and took away our old computer, some hand written materials, DVD player and some remotes, and all of the materials about Chen Guangcheng’s case,” Yuan said in the letter. “Zhang punched my head with his fist because I confronted him by asking why they were robbing us. On March 17, Zhang Jian led another group of 40-50 men into my home with a few dozen huge bags. They sacked all of our property which they thought they should take into the bags, including all of our books, the posters of our children on the wall, the calendar, Guangcheng’s blind cane, all of our papers, worn power plugs, antenna, wires, etc. March 22, they installed two video cameras on our home gate and southwest corner of our courtyard so they can monitor my home completely.”
“Since Feb 24, our five-year-old daughter has been under house arrest, just like us, without being allowed to step outside of home. They took her books and some toys away,” Yuan said.
The surveillance extends to Chen’s mother and Yuan writes, “Guangcheng’s mother is closely followed and physically monitored by 3 men every day, step by step, even when she works in the farm’s field. After mid-March, she was not allowed to go out even for buying vegetables. Therefore our daily life has gotten too hard to survive. Besides, Guangcheng’s health condition got worse. The blood from his diarrhea turned to dark instead of red as before. That is why I am so worried.”
The letter asks ChinaAid to contact friends of the couple for legal help and Yuan says she is worried the officials will take the couple from their home and force them to live in an open courtyard outside their village.
Bob Fu, ChinaAid president, commented on the contents of the letter and condemned the actions by the Chinese officials.
“Peaceful legal advocates, like Chen Guangcheng, can be beaten, jailed and tortured, but they will not disappear unless the international community is silent,” he said. “Chinese police torture a poor, blind lawyer to cover up evidence of the government’s abuses against women. This is unacceptable from a country that claims to follow the rule of law. The international community, including the Obama administration, should call China to account.”