On June 27, 2006, Chinese democracy supporters, human rights activists and people handicapped during the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre rallied together in support of blind democracy activist Chen Guangcheng. Supporters wore blindfolds and T-shirts with Chen's picture and the words “Rescue Chen Guangcheng”. A symbol of those who have suffered unjust persecution by China's communist regime, Chen is at the center of a cry for an end to human rights violations in China.
Chen Guangcheng, a 34-year-old human rights activist from Shandong Province, was chosen as one of “2006's Top 100 People Who Shape Our World” and “Heroic Figures of 2005” by Time magazine and Hong Kong's Asian Weekly, respectively. Chen has been missing since March 11, 2006, after making public the practice of forced abortions and sterilizations taking place in Linyi City, Shandong Province.
On June 10, after being illegally held in custody for 89 days, Chen was<a href=" ” target=”_blank”>officially arrested by the Public Security Department in Linyi City of Yinan County for his suspected involvement in “willfully destroying property and disrupting traffic while organizing gatherings.”
Zhao Xin, executive director of the Empowerment and Rights Institute, explained during an interview with The Epoch Times that the general public is indignant over the Chinese Communist Party's unjust treatment of a visually impaired human rights activist. “By standing in the streets of Beijing wearing T-shirts and blind folds today, we are showing our respect to Mr. Chen and calling for justice through artistic measures.”
Zhao Xin continued, “The blind Chen Guangcheng is a very righteous man. At first he was only protecting his own rights, but later he began to protect the human rights of his entire village. Many farmers were forced by the government to become sterile, have abortions, and some were even beaten. He is helping these people, working for human rights. However, because the evil government sees this as a revolt he was persecuted, illegally detained, and beaten. Chen was once detained for over 100 days, and this year he has again been detained since March. Nineteen other Shigu villagers have also been arrested and beaten.”
Many lawyers have stepped-up to support Chen and have tried to rescue him from the communist regime's harsh treatment. They have all suffered for their efforts. It has been difficult for them to do their jobs because they've been pressured, harassed, beaten, and summoned to appear in court by the government.
Zhao Xin revealed that a group of lawyers had tried to rescue Chen, but were stopped en route and the plan could not be carried out.
Chen's family and friends continue to endure harassment and abuse from government agents—some have been attacked, and some kidnapped or “detained.” Most recently, on June 19, Cheng's mother and brothers attempted to hold a press conference about his situation, but were all arrested by the Shandong police before the conference could be carried out. The police are currently monitoring Chen's household.