The family of Chen Guangcheng, the campaigner against forced abortions, has been facing death threats and significant harassment.
In late April 2012, Chen scaled the back wall of his compound and eluded the frustrated grasp of the Chinese Communist security machine and family planning officials. As though to punish him on the anniversary of his escape, Chen’s relatives in Dongshigu Village are being seriously harassed and subjected to death threats.
Chen Guangcheng spent more than four years in jail, then more than a year under severe house arrest, for exposing the widespread and systematic use of forced abortion and involuntary sterilization in the coercive enforcement of China’s One Child Policy.
Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s rights Without Frontiers, provided LifeNews with more details of the threats today.
According to reports by Yaxue Cao of “Seeing Red in China” and by Chinese Human Rights Defenders, harassment of Chen’s relatives has intensified greatly in the past several weeks.
Littlejohn says Chen’s older brother, Chen Guangfu, has reported that his home has been pelted with stones, breaking windows and damaging the roof. Also, dead chickens and ducks have been thrown onto his property, together with fake money that is burned for the dead.
According to the HRIC, “[t]his is a curse and a threat used by the local villagers; it means death and conveys the idea that killing the person is as easy as killing a chicken or a duck.” Flyers have been posted around Dongshigu Village denouncing Chen Guangcheng and Chen Guangfu.
She indicated that on Wednesday afternoon, authorities detained Chen Guangfu’s wife, allegedly for “hiding and sheltering a criminal.” This “criminal” would be her son, Chen Kegui.
Meanwhile, on April 26, 2012, after discovering that Chen Guangcheng was missing, authorities burst into the home of Chen Guangfu, dragged him away, and beat his wife and son, Chen Kegui. Fearing for his life, Kegui grabbed a kitchen knife to defend himself. According to Congressional testimony of Chen Guangcheng, these officials did not sustain any major injuries. Nevertheless, Kegui was charged with attempted murder. He was later convicted of “intentional injury” and sentenced to three years and three months in prison.
On April 9, 2013, Chen Guangcheng testified at a Congressional hearing, in which he set forth the promises to him broken by the Chinese Communist Party and detailed the ongoing persecution of his family. The intensified harassment of his relatives in China followed shortly afterwards.
“We condemn the persecution of the relatives of Chen Guangcheng by Chinese Communist thugs,” Littlejohn said.
She continued: “This harassment is clearly designed to silence him as one of the leading voices in the world to expose the brutality of this regime. The Chinese government will even stoop to detain without food or water a 10-year-old child in an attempt to silence her activist father, as in the case of Zhang Anni, earlier this month. We urge Chinese President Xi Jinping to stop the harassment of Chen Guangcheng’s relatives in Dongshigu Village. We call upon President Obama and Secretary Kerry to urgently intervene on behalf of Chen Guangcheng’s relatives in China.”
The human rights group ChinaAid is also monitoring the situation and provided this report to LifeNews:
This past Sunday (April 21), at about 1 a.m., a hail of stones, bricks and roof tiles rained down on the home of Chen Guangfu, Chen Guangcheng’s eldest brother. The assault continued for about a half-hour, resulting in damage to his house. A dead duck and a stack of paper money used as burnt offerings for the dead were placed outside the front gate. According to local custom, this is meant to be a death threat. Chen Guangfu has reported the incident to the police, but with no results to date.
ChinaAid has learned that “small character posters” started showing up around the village last Friday (April 19) that were full of insulting attacks on Chen Guangcheng and Chen Guangfu. On Monday (April 22), 20 saplings that Chen Guangfu had planted were uprooted. Wednesday (April 24) at 2:31 a.m., Chen Guangfu’s home was again attacked with stones and beer bottles. Later Wednesday afternoon, Chen Guangfu’s wife, Ren Zongju, was taken to the local police station for questioning, and was allowed to return home at about 4:30 p.m. She was told that her “harboring a criminal” case had entered the investigation and prosecution stage and that she could hire a lawyer.
The “harboring a criminal” charge is related to the case of her son and Chen’s nephew, Chen Kegui, who was convicted of intentionally injuring a police officer and is serving a three-year, three-month prison term. He had been acting in self-defense when police staged a pre-dawn raid on his father’s home, where he also lives, in their search for Chen, who had miraculously escaped extra-judicial house arrest and intensive round-the-clock surveillance.
Also on Wednesday, Chen Guangcheng’s younger brother, Chen Guangjun, who was working in Linyi, received a call from the procuratorate’s office, telling him to report to the Yinan County Procuratorate, which he did, but since it was already 6 p.m. when he arrived, the Procutorate was already closed for the day.
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The family has also received a phone call from Chen Kegui saying that was ill with appendicitis and asking them to delay their regular visit to the prison.
“These shocking developments are nothing but political retaliation for Chen Guangcheng’s escape to freedom last year,” said ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu. “These horrific threats clearly bear the hallmark of the Chinese government that orchestrated the persecution against Chen and his family members over the past seven years.”
“The Chinese government is totally disregarding the high-level U.S.-China diplomatic agreement reached last May before Mr. Chen and his family were allowed to come to the United States. It is time for President Obama and Secretary Kerry to hold the Chinese top leaders account,” Fu said.