Chen Guangcheng asks for urgent help; the attorney appeals for the mobilization of people worldwide.
By Zhang Min, reporter for Radio Free Asia
English Translation by ChinaAid | PDFSeptember 16, 2010
Chen Guangcheng, the blind human-rights defender from Shandong who was released five days ago when he finished serving his sentence is still forbidden to leave his house. The family’s phone line is still disconnected and his health condition is very bad. On September 13, he once again appealed to international organizations for assistance concerning his medical treatment. He also asks citizens and organizations of conscience to come to his house to witness the truth that the personal freedom of him and his family has been, and is now illegally restricted. Li Subin, a rights defense attorney, appeals to people in China and all over the world to get mobilized and to show concern on the rescue of Chen Guangcheng. The following is an interview report from Zhang Min, a reporter from Radio Free Asia.
Chen Guangcheng, the blind rights defender from Shandong who was released five days ago when he finished serving his sentence is still forbidden to leave his house. His health condition is very poor and there is no way he can seek medical attention. On September 13, Chen Guangcheng and his wife once again urgently appealed to the outside world and are hoping Chen can get permission to seek medical treatment as soon as possible in a hospital not designated by the local authorities.
Chen Guangcheng’s wife Yuan Weijing said, “What I’m concerned with the most is Guangcheng’s diarrhea and his cough. On the day he was released from jail, he could hardly talk. Now, he still coughs a lot at night. He has lost a lot of weight and he also has more gray hair. He has every appearance of being a very frail man. We originally planned to do some lab tests after he was released from prison, but we haven’t been able to go out of our house. Now, from the interstate highway to our door, there are four layers of people that are keeping watch on us. When I wanted to go out to buy some grocery yesterday, they wouldn’t let me. I said, ‘Well, we have to eat. Could you buy the grocery for us?’ They said, ‘We can’t do that either.’ As soon as I went out of the door, about 20 of them stood up and immediately surrounded me. I didn’t want to make any trouble, so I came back in helpless. An hour later, they said they were now willing to help me buy the groceries and asked me to give them the money; this is how they bought some groceries for me. We didn’t buy anything today and our family members can’t come in. Today, Guangcheng’s uncle brought some newly harvested corn for us, but he was not able to come in as he was blocked by the people who stand guard at the door. This is the time for the autumn harvest and people are harvesting peanuts in the field. Only Guangcheng’s mother (who is 76 years old) is allowed to harvest in the field and none of us are allowed to do so.”
In 2005, the blind human rights defender Mr. Chen Guangcheng exposed the violence used in the enforcement of family planning programs in the Linyi area and provided legal assistance to the peasants. In January 2007, his attorney was beaten and his witness was kidnapped, rendering them unable to attend the court session, and Chen Guangcheng was sentenced to four years and three months on the charges of “intentional destruction of properties and inciting a mob to disrupt traffic.” The three months in which he was abducted before his detention were not deducted from his sentence. In the four and a half years of Chen Guangcheng’s imprisonment, Yuan Weijing was allowed to visit Chen Guangcheng only three times, while it is stipulated in the law that the prisoner can have a visitation once a month.
In 2006, Time named Chen “one of the 100 most influential in shaping our world.” After that, he won the Ramon Magsaysay Award and many other international human rights awards. On the 9th of September of this year, he finished serving his sentence and came back home. Ever since then, he has been under the surveillance and is not allowed to leave his home. Although his voice was hoarse for a week. Mr. Chen’s voice has been gradually improving. He said, “I’ve found that the facts are the most important things. I’ve also found the entire legal system and the entire country are being kidnapped. When I was sentenced, they refused to admit that they had illegally detained me. In fact, the illegal detention has not yet stopped. It has been already over five days since I’ve been out of prison, and they told my mother that if I continue to contact people from the outside, they will punish me more severely. As soon as my mother came back, she threatened suicide and said if I continue to contact other people, she would do this and that [various things].”
While talking about his health condition, Chen Guangcheng said, “Before I was released from prison, they drew some of my blood for a check-up and it was found my blood lipid level is three times more than the normal level and my blood sugar is also over the normal level and has reached over 6.6. On the afternoon of the physical exam, my voice was suddenly gone. On September 8 and September 9, the voice problem was even worse. There has been slight improvement [in my voice] so far while my diarrhea is as bad as it was before. I suddenly feel extreme pains and it is always too late even if I hurry to the restroom. I hope very much that organizations like the International Red Cross and the UN Council on Human Rights come to help us implement our international conventions. I think the conduct of the Chinese authorities has violated the international laws. Organizations like the US Congress should set an example that it will not make compromises in human rights issues. The European Commission of Human Rights should also come up with strong reactions on this and show it will not be silent on such an issue.
“Now, I have been released from jail and now you [the authorities] still spend so much of your resources on placing me under surveillance. I would deem it unthinkable if international organizations were all to be silent on this matter. Therefore, I hope all kind-hearted and honest individuals and organizations would react to this. If this situation can happen to me today, then it can happen to other people tomorrow. I hope all citizens with a sense of justice and conscience can be witnesses of this vicious conduct with concrete actions in response to the conduct of the authorities. If a lot of people come [to our home], they can witness the results of the conduct of the Chinese authorities. They can all turn on their cell phones and take videos. If they seize A’s cell phone, B will take the video of the act and if they seize B’s cell phone, C will shoot the scene with his or her cell phone. In this way, they can all record the current situation. Their conduct is after all something disgraceful and deplorable. As the Chinese saying goes, ‘A thief will always feel guilty and nervous’. If tens and even hundreds of thousands of citizens use various methods such as taking photos and videos to record the evil deeds of the authorities, I anticipate they won’t be able to do things in this way for too long.”
Mr. Li Subin, a rights defense attorney in Beijing, said, “I’ve been paying attention to this issue the whole time. Now that Chen Guangcheng has been released from prison, they should give back his freedom. However, look at what has happened to him! He has basically come back from a state prison to a prison sentence in his own home. This is very unfortunate. His case is very similar to that of Attorney Zheng Enchong after he was released from his prison. Now, everybody is showing concern on this issue. Chen Guangcheng himself worries about this, too. I think he does this not only out of consideration for himself, but he worries about this country and how it was possible for this nation to become like this! We might say that this nation has been on the road to democracy and rule of law for 30 years, but we still have to face these types of brutal situations today. I think we all should give our attention to this. High-ranking officials like Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao should also pay attention to this and get involved in these types of situations and they should not let a person live in prison like this.”
Attorney Li Subin said, “I think the common people and the high-ranking officials have different ways of showing concern on this issue. As long as all of us deal with this issue seriously, I think the corruption of local governments and perversion of the local judicial organs won’t last long. We attorneys as a social group have been paying attention to this from the very beginning of persecution on Chen Guangcheng. I think we should continue to pay attention to it till the very end. The best way is to mobilize all people worldwide.”
Chen Guangcheng has finished serving his sentence in prison and was sent back to his home.
The above is an interview report by Zhang Min, reporter from Radio Free Asia.Translation Copyright ChinaAid 2010.