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Posts tagged ‘Chen Guangcheng’

Chen Guangcheng Awarded Ramon Magsaysay for Emergent Leadership

China’s Chen Guangcheng, this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Emergent Leadership and whose image is projected on the screen receives an applause from his co-awardees and the audience Friday, Aug. 31, 2007, in Manila, Philippines, as he was unable to attend because he is currently serving a prison term. The wife of the blind Chinese activist denounced China for its human rights record and for being prevented from leaving the country to receive the Philippine humanitarian award for her husband. The Ramon Magsaysay Awards, which honor individual’s achievements, is Asia’s counterpart to the Nobel Prize. (AP Photo/Pat Roque)

Wife of Chinese Activist: I Was Held

BEIJING (AP) — The wife of an imprisoned blind Chinese activist said Saturday that she was dragged off a bus and held for hours to stop her from traveling to Beijing to speak out on his behalf.

Yuan Weijing said she was on a bus from Shandong province in eastern China on Friday when it stopped and she was pulled off by a group of government workers.

The alleged action comes after Yuan was blocked last week by Chinese authorities from leaving for Manila, Philippines, where she was to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s version of the Nobel Prize, for her husband, Chen Guangcheng. Friday was also the day a speech by her was read at the awards ceremony, in which she accused Beijing of violating human rights.

Chen, 36, was sentenced to four years and three months in prison in 2006 after he documented cases of forced abortions and other abuses by family planning officials in his native Shandong.

“I think the purpose of this was to prohibit me from speaking out,” Yuan said by phone from her village of Dongshigu in Shangdong. “Three men and one woman got on the bus and they dragged me to get me off the bus.”

She said she was going to Beijing to highlight her husband’s case and to seek legal help after her passport was taken away when she was trying to go to the Philippines.

Yuan said she was held for about 12 hours and taken back to her house in a mini-bus. She did not give details, but said she recognized those who dragged her off the bus as being from her local government office.

Yuan, 31, was taken back to her home early Saturday, and she said about six people were standing in front of her house and that another four were blocking the entrance to the village.

A duty officer at the Shandong police office, who refused to give his name, said he had not heard of the case.

In Yuan’s speech read at the awards ceremony, she blasted China’s record on human rights.

“In China, our government is often the biggest violator of people’s rights,” Yuan said in the speech. “Because Guangcheng engaged in helping peasants safeguard their rights, he became the target of a retaliatory strike by some corrupt government officials.”

Chen was convicted on charges of instigating an attack on government offices in Dongshigu. Police said he was upset with workers sent to carry out poverty-relief programs.

Yuan said her husband was convicted “based on trumped-up charges and a flawed trial process” in which villagers allegedly were kidnapped and tortured to testify against him.

Chen and a fellow Chinese citizen jointly won the Magsaysay emergent leadership award. Chen, blinded by a fever as a child, helped farmers file court cases, led protests against a river-polluting paper factory and documented abuses.

Chung was recognized for his AIDS Orphans Project, which provides school fees for children who have a parent with AIDS.

Each winner received a gold medallion with an image of the former Philippine president for which the award is named plus $50,000.


Blind Chinese Rights Activist Defiant After Prison Beating

For those unfamiliar with Chen’s plight, please check out these links to past Elfis Network coverage of his valient efforts to end inhumane enforcement of China’s old one-child policies.

– Miles

Blind Chinese Rights Activist Defiant After Prison Beating

By Maureen Fan Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, June 23, 2007; Page A14

BEIJING, June 22 — A blind legal activist imprisoned after angering local officials in Shandong province went on a three-day hunger strike this week to protest being beaten while in custody, lawyers and supporters said Friday.

Chen Guangcheng, 35, who was sentenced last August to more than four years in prison for damaging property and disrupting traffic, has said he was wrongfully convicted. Last Saturday, Chen objected when other prisoners tried to shave his head in accordance with prison rules. When Chen refused, six or seven other inmates pushed him to the floor and beat and kicked him, Chen’s wife told his lawyer Li Jinsong after visiting her husband Tuesday.

“She saw that his mood was unhappy, that his knees and ribs were red, injured and swollen,” Li said in a telephone interview Friday. “She was afraid one of the ribs might be broken. He began rejecting food and water after the beating.”

Chen’s case attracted international attention after he documented complaints that Linyi city officials had tried to enforce birth control regulations by illegally forcing farmers to undergo late-term abortions and sterilizations. Chen, blinded by a childhood illness, taught himself the law and helped farmers prepare a class-action lawsuit.

He and other rights activists have suffered recently as Chinese leaders have cracked down on dissent in advance of the 2008 Olympic Games and an upcoming Communist Party congress. China’s top security chief has branded Chinese rights activists a threat to stability and Communist Party rule and said they are influenced by overseas interests.

Although Chen received support for his campaign from national family planning officials — who acknowledged that their policies ought to be legally enforced — he was detained in Beijing by embarrassed local officials. He was returned to Shandong province, placed under house arrest and brought up on what his attorneys described as trumped-up charges.

The case has been marked by irregularities, including the beating and detention of Chen’s defense attorneys, who are now seeking to appeal the conviction.

Hu Jia, a rights activist who is under house arrest but able to speak with the media, said Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing, called him in tears on Tuesday. She told him her husband had not had anything to eat or drink for the 76 hours between the beating and her visit with him. Chen could stand up only very slowly, she said.

Yuan went to the prison again Thursday to see her husband and was told by officials that he had undergone a medical examination and was found to be uninjured. He had also resumed eating and drinking after the checkup, lawyer Li said.

“I personally think that it was not the revenge of prison officials. It’s more likely that it’s just the misbehavior of the other prison inmates,” Li said.

Amnesty International said in a statement Friday that the group believes Chen’s life is in danger “and that he is at risk of further torture and ill-treatment.”