» 10/08/2011, 00.00
Fears for fate of Chen Guangcheng, the blind activist against forced abortions
Some say that he might have died of torture and lack of medical care. A year after his release from prison, he is in forced isolation in his house with his wife and six year old daughter who can not go to school. Anyone who tries to contact him, is beaten and arrested. Shandong authorities have built a prison-house for him. Wrwf appeal and petition for news of Chen’s health.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Unconfirmed voices in Shandong say that the blind activist Chen Guangcheng might be dead. The fears are compounded by the fact that some days ago, some activists who wanted to meet their friend, were arrested and isolated. According to some reports from Canyu, the authorities fired at the activists.
Chen Guangcheng has been campaigning for years against forced abortions and sterilizations in Shandong. After the complaint of 130 thousand cases of operations forced by the family planning authorities in the province, he was sentenced to four years and three months. Released in September of last year, since then the authorities have forced him into total isolation with his wife and his six year old daughter, unable to go to school. His other son, aged eight, lives with his grandparents.
In February, Chen managed to send a video abroad in which he denounces his detention despite having served his sentence of four years (Chen Guangcheng 10/02/2011: "Chen Guangcheng, practically still in prison"
). Neither he nor his wife can leave the house, their phone is cut off, their friends kept away. For this reason, the police proceeded to beat him and threaten his wife.
Just as with the activists a few days ago, foreign journalists who tried to approach his house, were also beaten and their equipment seized (17/02/2011 Foreign reporters roughed up in front of Chen Guangcheng’s home
Some activist friends told the South China Morning Post that the Shandong authorities have completed a house in July in the village of Dongshigu (Linyi), where they think they have shut Chen and his wife up. The house is secluded and surrounded by a high wall and will be monitored day and night by security.
Even relatives are banned from visiting Chen.
Worried about his health and his life, the NGO Womens'rights without frontiers (Wrwf) has launched a campaign for news on the fate of Chen, with a petition (see here
). "We are alarmed at the news reported by villagers, according to whom Chen was already dead," said the president of Wrwf, Reggie Littlejohn. "If Chen is dead - he adds - then the Chinese Communist Party is fully responsible for killing him under torture, denying him medical care, starving him to death. If Chen is alive, we strongly urge that he and his family are released immediately and unconditionally to see a doctor for treatment. "
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The lawyer of Chen Guangcheng, an imprisoned activist famed for his battles against forced abortion, was beaten and robbed together with his assistant, while the police of Linyi looked on.
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