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Chinese Human rights lawyer beaten by police over secret video of his house arrest

Posted by Author on February 11, 2011

Reporters Without Borders, Feb 11, 2011-

A famous self-taught human rights lawyer and free speech activist, Chen Guangcheng, has reportedly been badly beaten by police for circulating a secretly-recorded video showing how he is being held under house arrest in his small farm in the eastern province of Shandong.

He is said to be confined to his bed as a result of the injuries received in the beating but has not been able to receive any medical treatment. His wife, Yuan Weijing, was also beaten.
“We are shocked by this use of violence by the police and we urge the authorities to provide Chen with the necessary medical care and to refrain from any further violence against him and his family,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We also call for their immediate release and the release of all other freedom of expression activists held illegally under house arrest.”

The one hour video was the first word from Chen since he was officially released from prison on 9 September 2010 on completing a four-year jail sentence. Posted online on 9 February by China Aid Association, a US-based human rights group, the video shows what Chen calls the “thuggish methods” used to monitor him and his family in their farm-house.

Reporters Without Borders hails this courageous video and the evidence it provides of the illegal methods used by the Chinese authorities to deprive human rights activists of their freedom after they have served their jail sentences. It proves that often they are still not free when they leave prison.

Chen’s wife describes the voyeurism of the guards, who go so far as to set up step ladders in order to spy on them. Video cameras have been installed all over the village and it is impossible to communicate by mobile phone. Chen says the police dissuade neighbours from visiting him, calling him a “traitor and counterrevolutionary.” Any contact with the outside world is expressly forbidden.

In a long monologue delivered directly to the camera, Chen says: “I have come out of a small jail and walked into a bigger jail.” He appeals for international support, says it is important that the video should be circulated and criticizes the Chinese government’s illegal actions.

“Why are they afraid of my talking to the outside world?” he asks. “Because they know full well that they are wrong. They know that what they are doing is illegal.” He expresses his support for fellow-human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has been missing since April 2010, and for jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. His wife goes on to describe the humiliations to which they are constantly subjected.

This video is a disturbing and courageous appeal, and tears a hole in the Chinese government’s lies, offering proof of the appalling treatment being inflicted on Chen and his family. It also offers an idea of the deplorable conditions and isolation in which many human rights activists are being held. They include Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since 8 October also officially she is free.

Reporters Without Borders

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