Blind Chinese Rights Advocate Formally Arrested

June 25, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: June 25, 2006 12:00 am

Chen Guangcheng, a renowned blind human rights advocate, was formally arrested by Chinese authorities.

Chen's family was informed of his formal arrest by the public security department via a registered letter. The letter, dated June 21, stated that Chen was imprisoned in the detention center of Yinan County, Shandong province.

According to a report by BBC, in an interview with Reuters, Chen's wife said, “I am very worried. I am afraid to even think of the kind of environment he is living in now.”

“The authorities asked Chen to admit to the charges. Now that they have already arrested him, they may sentence him soon,” she said.

The police have accused the 34-year old Chen of “purposely damaging public property and gathering people to obstruct traffic” and have put him in detention since June 10.

Some Chinese human rights attorneys and activists have initiated rescue activities. They originally planned to uncover the truth about his arrest at a press conference on June 19, but the plans were cancelled under pressure from the Chinese Communist regime.

Furthermore, Chen's defending attorneys Li Subin and Li Jinsong in Beijing were originally going to pay a visit to Chen's home, but were stopped by more than 20 unidentified so called “villagers” as they were entering the village.

Chen lives in Dongshigu village, Linyi city, Shandong province. He taught himself law and devoted his time to helping both the disabled and non-disabled people protect their legal rights and interests. The local residents honorably address him as “barefoot attorney”.

Previously, Chen exposed the sinister dealings behind the birth control program in districts in Linyi, Shandong and caught the attention of the Communist regime. He revealed that certain local officials adopted brutal means such as arrest, beating up, detention, forced vasectomy, forced abortion, organizing fees charging tuition classes, and other cruel methods to carry out the birth control policy.

Because of this, he was attacked by the local officials in retaliation and was placed under house arrest for as long as 200 days last year.