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Chronology of Blind Chinese Lawyer Chen Guangcheng’s Case

Posted by Author on November 13, 2010

Human Rights Watch, November 13, 2010 –

Chen Guangcheng is a blind lawyer whom Chinese authorities have repeatedly persecuted for his role in exposing official abuses. Chen was arbitrarily detained in August 2005; his formal detention began on June 10, 2006. On August 24, 2006, he was sentenced to four years and three months in prison. Chen was released on September 9, 2010, after serving his full sentence, but following his release he and his wife were subjected to unlawful house arrest.

March 2005
Chen learns of family planning abuses in Linyi city, Shandong province and begins his own investigation.

June 2005
After Chen organizes a class-action lawsuit, he travels to Beijing to consult with legal scholars and lawyers and to meet with the press. The suit was filed, only to be rejected. Chen’s findings are revealed on the Internet and through the foreign press.

August 12, 2005
Chen and family are imprisoned in their own home. Twenty to 300 officials and civilians who appear to work in concert with the police maintain round the clock watch.

September 6, 2005
Chen manages to escape to Beijing, where he is apprehended by Linyi city officials and threatened with a long prison term if he does not stop his activism. When he refuses, he is returned to effective house arrest in Dongshigu, his home village.

September 2005
Lawyers and legal experts who had earlier posted Chen’s findings on the Internet organize to defend him.

September 19, 2005
The National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC), responding to the concerns raised about Linyi, reports that “illegal family planning practices that violate people’s legal rights and interests do exist. Those who are responsible have been dismissed from duty. Some are under investigation, some are in detention.”

October 4, 2005
Lawyers Li Fangping and Li Subin and law lecturer Xu Zhiyong attempt to visit Chen and to negotiate with local officials for an end to the enforced isolation. After two of the three were beaten, police interrogate all three, then escort them back to Beijing the following day.

October 24, 2005
Local officials beat Chen to prevent him from leaving his house to meet with two Beijing scholars, then refuse to permit him to seek medical assistance.

March 11, 2006
Chen is “disappeared” from his home. His family is told nothing about his whereabouts for three months.

June 11, 2006
Yinan county officials acknowledge that they have Chen in custody; his formal detention is dated June 10.

June 18, 2006
An interrogator warns Chen that there is nothing abnormal “if someone dies in the detention center.”

June 19, 2006
Family, lawyers, legal experts and activist friends cancel a press conference in Beijing after security officers prevent would-be participants from leaving their homes. On the same day, some 10 men, who did not identify themselves, use force to remove Chen’s 70-year-old mother, his 3-year old son, and his older brother from legal expert Teng Biao’s Beijing home, and return them to their homes in Dongshigu village, Shandong. University officials tell two Beijing law professors – Teng Biao from the Chinese University of Politics and Law and Xu Zhiyong from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications – to stay away from the case.

June 21, 2006
The Yinan County People’s Procuratorate approves Chen’s arrest. Chen’s lawyers, Li Jinsong and Zhang Lihui, are able to visit him, but prison officials interfere with their ability to interview Chen. For example, they refuse to allow him to respond to certain questions.

June 22, 2006
Local police officers take lawyer Li Jinsong in for questioning. Local assailants beat three lawyers defending villagers jailed for supporting Chen. Police officers look on as the lawyers’ cameras are smashed, then take the three in for questioning.

June 23, 2006
Lawyers Li Jinsong and Li Subin try to visit Chen’s wife, but are stopped and beaten by guards.

June 24, 2006
All lawyers return to Beijing. An unidentified caller warns lawyer Li Jinsong that he is “seeking death.”

June 27, 2006
Li Jinsong and Li Subin return to Shandong on June 27, only to be harassed by assailants while the police again stand by. Some 20 men overturn the lawyers’ car and smash their cameras. Police take Li Jinsong in for questioning again.

July 7, 2006
Li Jinsong announces Chen’s trial is scheduled for July 17, 2006. The trial is subsequently postponed.

August 24, 2006

Chen is convicted of “intentionally damaging property and gathering crowds to disturb transport order” and sentenced to four years and three months in prison.

September 9, 2010

Chen is released from Linyi Prison in Shandong Province, after having served his full sentence of four years and three months (his formal detention having begun on June 10, 2006). However, Chen and his wife Yuan Weijing remain under unlawful house arrest.

– Human Rights Watch

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