Rights Defender Chen Guangcheng Prison Sentence Ending Soon

Chen Guangcheng’s sentence in prison is coming to an end soon.  People are concerned whether he and his family can regain true freedom after his release from prison.
By Zhang Min, reporter for Radio Free Asia
English Translation by ChinaAid
September 2, 2010

Chen Guangcheng, the blind rights defender who is serving his sentence in Linyi Prison of Shandong, will finish serving his sentence on September 9.  Recently, his family is still under various degrees of surveillance.  Rights attorneys and his family are concerned whether Chen Guangcheng can regain true freedom after he is released from the prison. 
The following is a report by Zhang Min, a reporter from Radio Free Asia.
Link: http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/chen-09022010170732.html
Photo: Chen Guangcheng with wife and son (Internet source). 
Mr. Jiang Tianyong, a human rights attorney based in Beijing learned that Chen Guangfu, the eldest brother of Chen Guangcheng, has been under surveillance and has been stalked in the past few days.  He then published this piece of information on the Net.  On the evening of September 2, Beijing time, I made a trans-Pacific 3-way conference call with Lawyer Jiang Tianyong and Mr. Chen Guangfu.
Chen Guangfu: “Today, they are no longer stalking me.  This decision (conduct) that violates the law existed for 24 hours, I guess.”
Lawyer Jiang Tianyong: “In this way, when all of us show concern, things often do not turn out as bad as we imagined.  Most things improve that way.  On the other hand, there is the concern that when Guangcheng is released and goes back home, he may be put back into that same state (of restriction), which started from August 2005 until the time when he was kidnapped and imprisoned.  During that period of time, he was under complete house arrest.  I don’t think this is what Chen Guangcheng wants.”
In 2005, Mr. Chen Guangcheng, a blind rights defender, exposed the violence used in the enforcement of family planning programs in Linyi area, and he provided legal assistance to the peasants.  In January 2007, with his attorney beaten and his witness kidnapped and thus unable to attend the court session, Chen Guangcheng was sentenced to four years and three months in prison on the charges of “engaging in intentional destruction of properties and inciting a mob to disrupt traffic.”   The three months in which he “disappeared” (kidnapped by the police before he was detained) were not deducted from his sentence.  Since the fall of 2005, Chen Guangcheng’s wife Yuan Weijing has always been under various forms of surveillance.  In the four and a half years of Chen Guangcheng’s imprisonment, Yuan Weijing was only allowed to visit Chen Guangcheng three times, though the law states that a prisoner can receive visits once a month.
Chen Guangfu: “Yesterday, they were very aggressive and in a menacing matter, they followed close behind me in their motorcycles, while I was walking in front.  Ordinary people find this kind of conduct abominable.  They followed me even when I went out for work.  This is like what I experienced back in 2008.  Yesterday, four people stalked me.  Today, they suddenly disappeared, which I find very strange.  I guess it must be because you have posted this conduct of theirs on the Net and they have read it, too.  Since it is a decision that violates the law, it must be a short-lived one.”
Lawyer Jiang Tianyong: “Yes, there is now a new tool called Twitter which allows hundreds of thousands of Chinese users worldwide to learn a piece of news within 30 seconds.”
Chen Guangfu on Yuan Weijing’s current situation:
Chen Guangfu: “She only said there were many vehicles and many people.”
Reporter: “Did she say what kind of cars they were in?”
Chen Guangfu: “No.  She only told me they followed her for everything she did.”
Recently, Yuan Weijing’s cell phone was repeatedly blocked by a busy tone by an agency; normally one can’t get through to her.”
Reporter: “Let’s test it once again to confirm it.  Perhaps we can get through to her this time.”
A call to Yuan Weijing’s phone returned a busy tone.
Reporter:  “Can Weijing still be making a phone call at 11:37 p.m.?”
Chen Guangfu: “That’s impossible.”
The above is an interview report by Zhang Min, reporter from Radio Free Asia.

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