This month’s special edition of Time magazine lists blind Chinese rights activist Chen Guangcheng as one of 100 ‘people who shape our world’. Last year Chen brought the world’s attention to the tragedy of forced abortion and sterilization in China and was praised as a ‘blind man with legal vision.’
Chen’s actions also caught the attention of pubic security agents, who placed him under house arrest in September 2005. He managed to escape and meet with media in February 2006, but was taken away by police on March 11, 2006 to an unknown location. After a lengthy investigation, Chen’s lawyer recently found out from the Shandong Provincial Public Security Office National Safeguard Brigade that Chen is currently under house arrest in a hotel in Shandong province, under the watchful eye of the Shandong National Safeguard Brigade.
According to a source in the police department, the local police in Chen’s home town of Linyi were angry that Chen didn’t give in to any of the tactics they used on him. Residents from Chen’s neighboring villages were also angry – angry that Chen had been under house arrest for so long – so angry in fact, that they destroyed a police vehicle during a conflict.
The local police wanted to charge Chen and the neighboring villagers with ‘disturbing social order’ and use this incident to serve as a warning to others. However the police from Shandong Provincial Public Security Office were more concerned about international pressure and were afraid that tough measures would instigate further conflicts.
So Chen remains under house arrest – but no longer in secret.