10/16/2009, 00.00
CHINA
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Health of Chen Guangcheng, imprisoned blind activist, in danger

He had revealed that forced abortions and sterilisations were being performed in Shandong. In the last month, he has lost four kilograms. His wife has not been allowed to see him since last December.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The health of Chen Guangcheng, a blind human rights lawyer sentenced to four years and three months in prison, is deteriorating. His wife, Yuan Weijing, said he is sick and has lost four kilograms in the last month alone. She spoke out after receiving a phone call from him two days ago.

Ms Yuan, who is under round-the-clock surveillance, said she had seen Chen only twice since he was detained three-and-a-half years ago in a prison in Shandong. Her last visit was in December of last year.

She said her husband has repeatedly asked for a reduction in his jail term for good behaviour.

Chen was arrested in March 2006 and convicted in a phoney trial of deliberately damaging public property and inciting people to block traffic.

It is widely believed instead that Chen was imprisoned for representing thousands of women in Linyi (Shandong) who were forced to have abortions or sterilisations in 2005 so that officials could meet family planning quotas.

Thanks to his actions, local authorities in this east-central province were shown to have forcibly sterilised about 7,000 people.

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