Chinese police spying on a blind Chinese human rights lawyer and his wife at their home before they beat themA blind Chinese human rights defender and his wife were “beaten senseless” by Chinese police on Feb. 8, after a video of their plight under house arrest was made public, according to Chinese and U.S.-based human rights organizations.
Chen Guangcheng, a stalwart campaigner against the Chinese Communist Party’s one-child and forced abortion policies, was released from prison last September. He served a four-year-and-three-month sentence for “damaging property and organizing a mob to disturb traffic,” a euphemism for his activist work exposing the Party.
After his release he was immediately put under house arrest.
An hour-long video of the house-arrest experience, in five segments, was published by the U.S.-based NGO ChinaAid on Feb. 9, and is available on YouTube . It shows police and Domestic Security Division officers, part of a 66-person around-the-clock team, spying on the couple through a window.
They also set up high-tech jammers, blocking cell phones. All passage to and from the residence was banned, except for the 76-year-old mother who was allowed to go out and buy food.
The video was smuggled out and given to ChinaAid by a “reliable government source who is sympathetic to Chen’s cause and outraged by Chen’s treatment. ”[http://www.chinaaid.org/2011/02/exclusive-video-shows-ill-treatment.html] Now there is a manhunt against whoever released it, said the president of ChinaAid, Bob Fu, in a telephone interview.
Chen and his wife were beaten so badly after authorities found out that the couple couldn’t get out of bed on the evening of Feb. 8, according to a Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) press release , which is dated the evening of Feb. 10, China time. The beating therefore took place even before ChinaAid had published the footage on Feb. 9, U.S. time.
CHRD tried to learn more details “but the source became extremely fearful and was not willing to reveal further information.”
The CHRD press release concludes: “It doesn’t matter with what purpose the local government acted, obviously their persecution of Chen Guangcheng’s family has violated China’s laws. We hope the local government will immediately stop the illegal house arrest of Chen and his family, and grant them freedom.”
Chen and his family should actually already be free, according to Chinese lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who spoke with Sound of Hope radio . “They also won’t let them seek medical support for their injuries. … This is entirely inhumane.”
Jiang said that Chen Guangfu, Chen’s older brother, was also arrested by the police the same day. “They have comprehensively persecuted this family,” he said.
In the video that led to the reprisal Chen says that the people assigned to monitor him get free meals and 100 yuan per day. The relatives of local CCP officials compete for the job because it is so easy and pays well, he said, adding that central Party officials have given local officials installments of 3 million yuan (US$454,000) each time. According to Chen, so far the CCP has spent 30 million yuan (US$4,554,000) on keeping him under house arrest.
ChinaAid's Fu says there is a pattern in the authorities treatment of Gao Zhisheng, a lawyer who was tortured and who is still in captivity, and Chen. "They most fear conscience, most fear justice," he said. "They most fear the voice of freedom. So these voices of conscience are attacked most. Darkness is scared of light. It hates light."