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Blind legal activist’s wife narrates beating ordeal

Chen Guangcheng, a famous blind legal activist in Shandong, and his wife Yuan Weijing have been subjected to continuous long-term harassments and surveillance by people hired by local public security in Dongshigu Village in Shuanghou Town, Yinan County, Shandong Province, northeast China. In August 2006, Chen was imprisoned for four years and three months on charges of “assembling a crowd to disrupt traffic” and “intentional destruction of property.” His friends and some China observers believed that the reason for his imprisonment was in fact a revenge taken against him by local officials as he exposed the scandal of the local government’s population control policy of forced abortion. He was released from prison on 9 September 2010 but he and his family have been under house arrest since then.


Yuan Weijing wrote a letter about the abuses the family encountered on 18 February and in March 2011. The undated letter (http://www.chrlawyers.hk/?p=636) was released by Chen’s friends on the internet on 16 June 2011 and was widely circulated on sina.com mini-blog, which was later censored and removed by the mini-blog webmaster, and Twitter. Below is an English translation of the letter done by the Hong Kong-based China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (www.chrlawyers.hk) which has been raising concern about Chen and his family and the situation of other human rights lawyers in China.



On 18 February 2011 afternoon, Zhang Jian, the deputy party secretary of Shuanghou Town, and the national security squad (guobao) in Yinan County led 70-80 people broke into our house. My husband Chen Guangcheng and I were beaten up again and were subjected to torture and ill-treatment for more than two hours. Without any legal procedure, our home was raided. None of the raiders wore uniform. My husband and I were seriously injured but we were not allowed to go out to see the doctor.

More than ten men put a quilt on me and kick my ribs and other parts of my body. After I was tortured for over half an hour, I struggled and stretched out my head and saw that Guangcheng was surrounded by more than ten people. One of them wrenched Guangcheng’s shoulder; another man pressed his head and one even grabbed his collar. Since Guangcheng suffered diarrhoea for a long time, he had no power to struggle. It lasted for more than two hours before Guangcheng was in a coma. My left eye’s eyebrow bone and my left ribs seemed to be fractured. My left eye was dark and swollen. I couldn’t see anything for five or six days. My eyeball was filled with blood. Until now, I still couldn’t stretch my waist. It’s still painful when I breathed. While we were tortured, other raiders searched our home completely. They took away our computer, camera, video camera, videotape, other electric appliances, torch light, etc.

None of them said anything nor wore uniform when they raided our home. There was also no legal procedure and no record of seizure of our belongings. Before they left, Zhang Jian said they received order from their seniors to do that and said we should understand what it meant. When he said that, some of raiders raised us and threw us on the floor.

We were so badly beaten up that we could get out from the bed. It was that Guangcheng couldn’t receive any medical treatment. I was also only allowed to get an intravenous injection from a village doctor on 19 February and I was not allowed to receive any further medical treatment afterwards.

On 3 March, they blocked the windows of our home with tin sheets. On 6 March, they cut our electricity supply. On 7 March, some of those people guarding outside our home sneaked into our house after midnight. They disassembled and cut off our television antenna. Our electricity supply was resumed in the early morning of 8 March. On that day, Zhang Jian again led 40-50 people into our house, took away our computer, hand-written documents, DVDs, some remote controls and all documents we have collected over the past years, regarding Guangcheng’s case. When I asked them why they broke into our house and robbed our staff, Zhang Jian even punched my head. On 17 March, Zhang Jian came again with 40-50 people. They carried dozens of bags to take away whatever they could take from our house, including all our books, my children’s appliqués on the wall, calendar, Guangcheng’s white cane, papers, and even old and broken sockets and cables. On 22 March, they installled two video cameras in front of and at the southwest corner of our house. We were completely under their surveillance.

Since 24 February, our five-year-old daughter had been restricted from leaving our house. She was not allowed to leave the house even if she asked for our permission. Her books and toys were taken away. As the child said: “I am so poor, all my stuff have been robbed.”

Guangcheng’s mother was constantly followed by three guards. They followed her every move, even when she was working in the field. Since mid-March, she was forbidden to leave the house completely, not even for grocery shopping. It really became difficult for us to maintain our basic survival. Guangcheng’s health was also deteriorating. He used to have diarrhoea with blood, and now the colour of the blood had changed from red to dark red. This worried me the most. I wish you could try to find a way to inform our friends, such as Teng Biao, Zhai Minglei, Jiang Tianyong, Zhang Yongpan and others, of our situations after you have received [this letter]. We hoped that they could help us take legal or other actions against the authorities’ unlawful detention, arbitrary seizure and beatings because the authorities had twice threatened Guangcheng’s mother to move us to another empty house in front of the village.

Thank you very much.

Yuan Weijing