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Out of the frying pan

October 4, 2011

When blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng was released from prison a year ago, it seems he was lifted from the frying pan of the Chinese prison system only to be dropped into a devastating fire fueled by house arrest and brutal raids on his family.

Chen Guangcheng is a blind Chinese lawyer and legal activist. In 2005, he helped villagers prepare a lawsuit against the local authorities in the Shandong province over a brutal campaign of forced abortion and sterilization. After a grossly unfair trial, he was sentenced to four years in prison for ‘damaging property’ and ‘disrupting traffic’.

After completing his sentence, Chen Guangcheng was released on 9. September 2010, and finally returned home. However, it seems like he escaped the frying pan of prison just to be dropped directly into the fire. Right from his release, he has been kept in house arrest and under tight surveillance. According to Amnesty International UK, neither Chen Guangcheng nor his wife Yuan Weijing have been allowed to leave their house to shop for groceries or visit the doctor. Their internet connection and phone lines have been disconnected, and security personnel monitoring the family have reportedly prevented friends and family from visiting.

Still worse, the authorities have carried out several raids on the family house. The couple were beaten so severely that Chen Guangcheng was rendered temporarily unconscious and Yuan Weijing lost vision in one eye for several days. More than one year after his release from prison, Chen Guangcheng is far from free.

More than one year after his release from prison, Chen Guangcheng is far from free. According to Amnesty International, there is no legal basis for the ongoing campaign of violence and intimidation against him and his family. Please help the organization flood the local authorities with appeals calling on them to finally free Chen Guangcheng and Yuan Weijing.

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