—Radio Free Asia Feb. 14, 2011
After the video of the house arrest of Chen Guangcheng, the blind rights defender of Shandong, was released and after the news that both his wife and he were once again beaten, reporters from foreign media and netizens have been going to his village spontaneously for several days to show their concern and to try to visit him. However, they are violently treated by the guards. Following is a report by Ding Xiao, special reporter of Radio Free Asia.
Photo: a screenshot of Chen Guangcheng’s video (provided by Ding Xiao)
The blind rights defender Chen Guangcheng, once sentenced for obstructing traffic and on other charges by the authorities after he exposed the violent enforcement in his local areas of the family planning policy of China, was placed under a strict house arrest after he finished serving the sentence in last September and was released from prison to his house in Dongshigu Village in Linyi. For five months, there was no news of his whatsoever. The US-based Christian organization China Aid Association released last week five videos that last nearly an hour that Chen Guangcheng and his wife took secretly at home in which they describe their plight in their house prison. In the meantime, the overseas-based China Human Rights Defenders released news that claims Chen Guangcheng and his wife were beaten and injured on February 8 by Linyi Municipal DSPS (Domestic Security Protection Squad) agents and police officers from Shuanghou Township Police Station. They are now bed-ridden due to the injuries and are not allowed to seek medical attention at hospitals, which has further drawn concerns from the international community and the citizens of China.
On Sunday, three foreign reporters from France’s Le Monde and Le Nouvel Observateur took a short-cut on foot and went to Dongshigu Village. As they were nearing the house of Chen Guangcheng, they were pushed and shoved and were robbed of their reporter certificates, memory cards in their audio equipment and keys to their vehicles. On the other hand, when a reporter from New York Times’ Beijing Bureau went to the village, he was once again besieged by the guards and his vehicle and equipment were smashed and destroyed.
Brice, the reporter from Le Monde, told the reporter of this radio station on Monday that when they got to the path that is supposed to lead to Chen Guangcheng’s house, they were stopped by five or six strong and stout men who pushed them out of the highway and robbed a colleague of his of his recording equipment, reporter certificate and the key to his vehicle. When they got to their vehicle, they found the data in the memory of their cell phones had been erased and that though these people returned the recording devices, the memory cards were taken from them. Then the reporters went respectively to report the robbery to two police bureaus. However, the police claimed the village has its own defense team and refused to go with them to the scene of the incident.
Brice said: “The police refused to accept our complaint and only winded up the case by recording the loss of our reporters certificate. They said they would get them back for us and told us to leave for the time being. Today, we have heard from our friends in the American media that they were treated more violently. As reporters, we only want to interview Chen Guangcheng and even the people who are standing guard around his house. Though they were not successful in getting to him, they believe that the release of Chen’s video has caused his friends both in America and in China to be concerned for him and to try to visit him, which will certainly bring some pressure on the local authorities. We also told them we were trying to see Chen Guangcheng. Though the police evaded our questions, we could feel this is a very embarrassing thing to them.
After the official founding of “Mainland Chinese Citizens Group to Rescue Chen Guangcheng” whose mission is to fight for the right to live for the entire family of Chen Guangcheng, over a hundred citizens from various places quickly joined in. A netizen named Gao Xingbo left for Linyi from Zhejiang on Sunday night and brought with him mutton food in a hope of visiting Chen Guangcheng. On early Monday night, he was beaten by the guards at Dongshigu Village. Pearl, a netizen who was on the phone with him at the time of his incident, had these words for this radio station: “He can speak the local dialect and he successfully sneaked into the village. However, as he didn’t intend to do these things in secret, he began to shout the names of Chen Guangcheng and Yuan Weijing after he cooked the mutton. After he shouted many times, the guards came over. He told the guards that he was ready for their beating. Then I heard the sound of beating and his bloodcurdling shrieks. After that the cell phone was disconnected. The young man must be suffering a lot tonight.”
The Nanjing-based Pearl went alone to Dongshigu Village last month to see the family of Chen Guangcheng. She was prohibited by the guards from entering. After the founding of the “Mainland Chinese Citizens Group to Rescue Chen Guangcheng,” she was again visited at home by the police who warned her not to leave Nanjing in the near future. While the local Chinese citizens meet with violence and even go missing, more people will go there to voice their support. Pearl said: “If we cannot get into contact with this netizen of ours by tomorrow, we will still go to Shandong. I’ll start out tomorrow.”
Chen Guangfu, an elder brother of Chen Guangcheng, was taken away by the authorities for two continuous days on Thursday and Friday and they asked him about the channel through which the video was smuggled out. He was also threatened by the authorities. On Monday, the reporter of this radio station again called him on his cell phone, but it was “Power Off.”
Teng Biao, the Beijing-based lawyer who called Chen Guangfu on weekend told us that on the night of February 8, Zhang Sheng and three other people did break into the house of Chen Guangcheng and treated them violently. The cause for this is Yuan Weijing got into a quarrel with the guard at the door and it was not because of the video. Chen Guangcheng and Yuan Weijing may have been beaten (but they were not so beaten as they could not get out of the bed.” Since we have not seen Guangcheng himself in person, there may be some inconsistencies in the details of the incident. We still need to check on that.
The above is an interview report by Ding Xiao, special reporter from Radio Free Asia.