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China: Calls to Free Blind Activist Met With Violence

After serving a 51-month sentence for disturbing public order, blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng was released in September 2010, but has been kept under house arrest for more than a year by local police in Linyi, Shandong province.

During the Jasmine crackdown in February this year, Chen's house was raided by a group of men who took away his computer, television, camera, books and documents and cut off his power and telephone line. They also injured the blind men and his wife. As the house arrest is extended to his 6-year old daughter, she cannot even attend school.

Chen Guangcheng

Chen Guangcheng

Female activists robbed, beaten and dumped

What can be done to free Chen Guangcheng and his family? Mainland Chinese activists have been discussing this, and other cases of violence against activists campaigning to free Chen, among themselves recently.

Yesterday two female activists @miaojue12 and @lss007 tried to enter Linyi village but were robbed and dumped in a nearby county, a few hours away.

@miaojue, an AIDS activist and a Buddhist nun, urged for help this morning [zh] in an Internet cafe:

求救:我和沙沙昨晚在东师古村口,束手就擒,被约莫二十多个山东大汉拖拽到一间黑屋,除了身上的衣服,手机,背包钱物等被洗劫一空。被黑头套,丢到莱芜市苗山旷野。我在马路遇见一个好心司机送我到苗山镇,还给了我十元钱,请推友慈悲联系同来的三推友前来救我,我饥寒交迫身无分文他们电话珍珠有。

Please help: Last night @lss007 and I were caught at Dongshi town Guchuan village. Around us were 20 big Shandong guys who surrounded us and dragged us to a dark house. They took off our clothes, stole our cell phones and money. They covered our heads with bags and threw us out (separately) from the car in the middle of nowhere at Laiwu city, Miaoshan town. I ran into a good hearted driver who drove me to Miaoshan and gave me 10 RMB. Please help to contact three of my Twitter friends (who were in Linyi) to come here and help. I don't have any money with me and am now starving. Pearlher has their phone numbers.

@lss007 briefly wrote [zh] what she had been through this morning:

被抓出车,被抢劫,被猥亵,被黑头套,被用大衣闷,被拉到荒郊,被推进水中,被打流血,被丢弃。

I was dragged out of the car, robbed, harassed, had a bag tied to my head, was suffocated with a jacket, thrown out into a field, in a pool of water. I was bleeding from the beating, and dumped in the middle of nowhere.

6-year-old daughter illegally detained

This is not the first time activists have been beaten by government sponsored gangs. Back in January @pearlher had similar experience when she attempted to enter the village.

Since early September 2011, she has been exploring different ways to help Chen's family, such as appealing to @UNICEF and reporting to the Shandong Education Bureau [zh]:

@pearlher@UNICEF Chinese blind lawyer Chen guangcheng's 6-year-old daughter, Chen Kesi, was not allowed to attend school for her father's activities

因為從事計生維權活動,陳光誠的六歲的女兒受父親牽連,被囚禁在家不能上學,呼籲網友持續電話山东教育厅,請他們教育法,切實保障陳光誠六歲的女兒的教育權。山东省教育厅电话:(0531)-81916615或81916623 或81916632 或81916500

As a result of his involvement in reproductive rights, Chen Guangcheng's 6-year-old daughter has been detained at home and banned from going to school. Please call up the Education Bureau in Shandong, ask them to implement our country's education law and make sure Chen's 6-year-old daughter receives her education. Shandong Education Bureau Phone number: (0531)-81916615 or 81916623 or 81916632 or 81916500.

She has also urged public intellectuals to say something for Chen Guangcheng and send it to guoyushan@gmail.com. A dozen videos have been uploaded to various sharing sites including youku, but have since been deleted.

Below is a YouTube backup copy of the first video appeal, made by a Tsinghua professor, Qin Hui:

Qin said in the video:

I have heard that a local government authority in Shandong has been illegally oppressing citizen Chen Guangcheng. I don't think such idea is coming from our country's leaders. The grassroots goons are acting outside the law. I suggest to prosecute them. Nevertheless, the blind man Chen Guangcheng, who have been fighting for justice, the fact that he has to go through all these, is the humiliation of our country and our time.

Diplomatic pressure needed

However, all these individual efforts have been in vain as the Shandong government only care about its stability maintenance budget. @wenyunchao believes [zh] that only diplomatic pressure can help:

只有外交能救陈光诚,中国政府也只有在对外还顾点颜面。艾未未能放出来,是温家宝要出访欧洲怕脸上无光,才让手下去找了高瑛写信给了胡锦涛签字起的作用。

Only diplomatic pressure can help Chen Guangcheng. The Chinese government still cares maintaining face in terms of foreign diplomacy. Ai Weiwei's release was related to Wen Jiabao's visit to Europe. His man suggested Gao Ying write to Hu Jintao for granting the release.

@pearlher's latest idea [zh] follows a similar line of thought:

@pearlher@USA_China_Talk 白宫将开通请愿网站 we the people,一旦请愿书附议人数达到限额(暂定5千人),白宫就会处理并给予正式答复。偶们找5000個人簽名要求駱家輝大使去山东看陳光誠,可以么?

@pearlher: @USA China Talk: White House has a petition website “We the People” – when the number of petitioners reaches a certain amount (initially 5,000), the White House gives an official reply. Can we ask 5,000 people to petition to ask the U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke to pay a visit to Chen Guangcheng?

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