Gary Locke Asked to Visit Blind Rights Activist Under House Arrest

October 1, 2011 2:00 am Last Updated: October 3, 2011 11:10 am

Chinese netizens are trying to recruit U.S. ambassador to China, Gary Locke, to visit one of China’s most oppressed rights defenders, blind activist Chen Guangcheng, who is kept under strict house arrest by authorities. Netizens think the Oct. 1 National Day holiday would be a good time for such a visit.

Locke’s frugal style, approachability, and kind manners have won Chinese people’s admiration. They see in him an exemplary and trustworthy public servant who lives like an everyday person and cares about ordinary people.

Mr. Chen’s plight is well known to the world. He has been under house arrest, along with his wife and young daughter, in their Linyi, Shandong Province home, for over a year. Chen and his wife have been severely beaten several times by security forces stationed outside the house. They’ve also had most all of their belongings taken, including their child’s toys.

Chen is bared from making any contact with the outside world. Past attempts by several groups of caring citizens to visit Chen have also been stopped by authorities.

Early in September, Master Miaojue, a Buddhist activist, and others, went to Linyi to inquire about Chen’s daughter’s school enrollment. They were intercepted and robbed, and forcibly returned to their hometowns by unidentified people.

But Mr. Pang, one of a group of people who unsuccessfully tried to visit the Chen family, told Radio Free Asia (RFA) on Sept. 27, that they are trying to make another trip to Linyi before Oct. 5.

More than 80 people also expressed their intention on to visit Chen.

Mr. Wen Yuncao, an Internet media worker in Hong Kong, called on his Sina Weibo, China’s largest microblog, on ambassador Locke to visit Linyi to get an understanding of the true reality of Chinese society.

Wen told RFI, rumors have it that the government of Linyi has about US$5 million funds to “deal with Chen” over the next five years. The Linyi government is not able to secure this huge budget; it has to be agreed on and come from the central government, Wen said.

Wen said many international organizations have spoken out on Chen’s behalf in the past few years, but without any success. Now he wants to add his voice on Sina, and also ask Locke to go to Linyi.

“At least ambassador Locke won’t be beaten up like others if he decides to go,” Wen said.

Senior media worker Bei Feng stated in his Tweeter blog: “Gary Locke to Linyi, of course this has political ramifications. It also reflects on the current government’s unwillingness to act and its anti-people nature when netizens are calling on a foreign ambassador to appeal for an ordinary Chinese citizen’s freedom. This almost absurd circumstance has put a huge question mark on the legitimacy of the current government.”

Sun Wenguang, a retired professor from Shandong University, responded to netizens’ calls for help, saying: “Mr. Chen is not in prison, he is under isolation in his own home without anyone being able to visit him. Does the current government want to make China a huge prison? This is totally illegal–preventing people to visit him. I hope Ambassador Locke can learn about this situation by visiting, and reveal it to the world.”

RFA called the deputy Chinese Communist Party secretary, Zhang Dianhu, in Linyi County to inquire about Chen’s situation. Zhang answered that he did not know. When RFA told him that Chen’s condition is attracting international attentions, could Zhang check up on his treatment, Zhang simply hung up phone.

Chen was sent to prison for over four years for exposing forced abortions and sterilizations as part of the Chinese regime’s one-child policy. Upon his release on Sept. 9, 2010 he was put under house arrest.

In June the U.S.-based China Aid Association published a letter by Chen’s wife Yuan Weijing describing prolonged beatings she and Chen endured, and harassment the entire family has suffered at the hands of local officials.

Since the beginning of this year a number of western journalists have attempted to visit Chen, but were roughed up and forcibly sent back to where they came from.

Read the original Chinese article.