Human rights campaigners are releasing new details of a four-hour beating top Chinese forced abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng, a blind attorney, endured by local family planning officials.
ChinaAid, one of the groups keeping tabs on the plight of Chen and his family following his release from prison after serving four years on trumped-up charges, unveiled the details today in a statement to LifeNews. The new information comes as reports have surfaced suggesting Chen may have been killed — and the group says it has no additional information on that.
“The July beating, which was witnessed by the couple’s elementary school-age son, is but one episode in a pattern of horrific persecution against Chen because he had exposed the violent and deadly measures used by Chinese authorities to enforce the nation’s one-child policy,” says Bob Fu, the president of ChinaAid. “The couple endured a similarly brutal beating in February after they had smuggled out a videotape documenting the shocking conditions of their illegal house arrest following Chen’s release from prison.”
A reliable source told ChinaAid that the July beating occurred after a storm knocked out equipment that authorities had installed in Chen’s house to cut off all their telecommunications contact with the outside world. With the equipment disabled, Chen was able to make phone calls on July 25, but the calls were intercepted by authorities.
By July 28, Shuanghou town mayor Zhang Jian led a group of people to Chen’s home and beat and tortured the couple for four hours, the group says.
ChinaAid indicates that, at 2:00 p.m that day, authorities cleared out everyone from Chen’s village, at 3:00 p.m. they conducted an exhaustive search of Chen’s home and find a phone card in a pile of ashes, and an hour later authorities start the beating.
“Chen’s screams of pain were heard first, while his wife Yuan Weijing was heard shouting angrily and their son Kesi cried. After a while, Weijing’s screams of pain could also be heard. From then until 8 p.m., the only sounds were screams of pain,” the group says. Some time later, a village doctor was permitted to give Chen some cursory medical treatment.
During the four-hour beating, Chen’s elderly mother, who lives with them, was prevented from entering their home. When she was finally allowed to go in, neighbors heard her burst into tears, and her anguished cries — described as “gut-wrenching to hear” — continued for a long time.
According to the source, Zhang tortured Chen to try to get him to tell how he got the phone card to make the calls on July 25 and to reveal where he had hidden it. When Chen and his wife refused to give any details, their house was ransacked until the phone card was found in a pile of ashes.
Then the mayor’s men viciously beat up Chen and his wife in the presence of their son Kesi. “As family men themselves with parents and children, how could they inflict such inhuman pain on a little boy?” the source asked.
Fu said, “We condemn the Shandong authorities for their extreme brutality against innocent blind Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng and his wife.”
“The Chinese government’s brutality against brave individuals like Mr. Chen who promote the rule of law should certainly make the world seriously doubt the sincerity of the Chinese government’s commitment to international human rights,” Fu said.
Chen was imprisoned for four years and three months for exposing the violent measures used to enforce China’s one-child policy, including forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations that in his county alone in 2005 numbered 130,000.
Since his release from prison in Sept. 2010, Chen has been kept under illegal house arrest, denied medical treatment for serious intestinal problems and deprived of all contact with the outside world. Reporters and activists who have tried to visit him have been roughed up and turned away.
As a result, there has been no reliable information about Chen and his family for months, although there have been unconfirmed reports this fall that Chen might have been killed by Chinese authorities.