Beatings Jeopardize Health of Chinese Forced Abortion Opponent

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 12, 2011   |   11:47AM   |   Beijing, China

Chen Guangcheng’s health is in serious jeopardy because of repeated beatings and malnutrition he suffers in house detention following his release from prison on trumped of charges after he exposed a campaign of forced abortions.

Chen, a blind attorney, 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.

During the time Chen was imprisoned, he was severely beaten and tortured and his wife Yuan faced house arrest and her own beatings by local thugs hired by city and family planning officials.

Today, the Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and China Aid Association called for urgent action to free Chen and WRWF released a new video demanding freedom for Chen and his family.

“Chen’s wife sounded the alarm in a letter recently smuggled out of China,” explained Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers. “She said that Chen’s health is very fragile and worsening every day because of beatings, malnutrition and an intestinal illness. She is worried about his survival.”

“Chen sacrificed everything to tell the world the brutal truth about forced abortion in China. He is a warrior for women’s rights. Now it’s our turn to sacrifice on behalf of Chen by fighting for his freedom,” Littlejohn added.

Bob Fu, President of China Aid also weighed in and said “The abuse of Chen Guangcheng is unconscionable and contrary to the rule of law. His mistreatment under house arrest is deplorable, including beatings, constant surveillance, as well as confiscation of his computer, cell phone, books, his blind cane and the toys of his young daughter.”

The two organizations are partnering to spearhead an initiative to free Chen and his family. They call upon the international diplomatic community to make official interventions on behalf of Chen with the Chinese government. They also call upon individuals to write Chinese embassies and consulates around the world and sign the petition to Free Chen Guangcheng.

Chen Guangcheng was arrested in 2006 for exposing evidence that 130,000 forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations were performed on women in Linyi County, Shandong Province in a single year. Time Magazine named him one of “2006’s Top 100 People Who Shape Our World” and he was given the 2007 Magsaysay award, known as Asia’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Chen spent four years, three months in prison. Since his September 2010 release, he continues to serve a sentence of home detention. Both in prison and under house arrest, Chen has experienced mistreatment and beatings. He and his wife and daughter are not allowed sufficient food and are isolated from all outside contact.

The letter Chen’s wife released recently talked about the brutality the family still faces.

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.”

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.