Update on Blind Human Rights Activist Chen Guangcheng from Lord David Alton
Another example of China’s relentless crackdown on dissidents.
2/18/09 China (ChinaAid) This following press release was written by Lord David Alton and posted to the Chinese Democracy Education Website on February 16, 2009. Lord Alton and his wife, Lady Catherine Cox, just returned from China, where they met with the lawyer for Chen Guangcheng, the blind activist who is in prison for exposing 120,000 forced abortions in Shandong Province. Chen’s lawyer was beaten severely and almost died. Chen is gravely ill in prison and is being denied medical treatment.
During their meeting in Beijing with Chen’s lawyers, they were told that he was imprisoned in March 2006, with a prison sentence of 4 years and 3 months, after challenging the one-child policy in the Shandong Province. Chen had exposed the results of this policy: 120,000 women were forcibly aborted or sterilised in the course of one year in Shandong. The Chinese authorities have exorcised all mention of Chen from internet sites such as the Chinese Google.
When Chen’s lawyer, Li Fangping, travelled to Lin Yi District, Yinan County, of Shandong Province, he was assaulted and severely beaten. His colleagues told the British Peers that Li “was bleeding from the head and almost died. Speaking about his case carries great risks.”
His defence lawyer has been prohibited from visiting his client; he was only able visit once, in April 2008. They say that Chen has been denied his rights under Chinese law to be medically examined.
Lord Alton and Lady Cox said that “Chen Guangchen’s continued imprisonment is a blot on China’s reputation. It has taken a blind man to see what the rest of the world has so callously ignored – a policy which has violated the rights of vast numbers of women, shown no regard to the sanctity of life, and is having devastating social consequences. We urge the Chinese authorities to release Chen immediately.”