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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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China activists clamour for blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng

Posted by Author on October 28, 2011

BEIJING — Chinese activists, organised through the Internet, have stepped up efforts to visit a blind rights lawyer who they said on Friday has been held under illegal house arrest for over a year.

Activists have descended on Dongshigu village in eastern China’s Shandong province calling for the release of Chen Guangcheng, a prominent rights lawyer who was released into house arrest from an over four-year prison sentence last September.

The self-taught blind lawyer was jailed in 2006 for “creating a disturbance” after campaigning against forced abortions and sterilisations under China’s “one-child” family planning policy.

Chen has been championed by human rights organisations and his case has become one of China’s most documented example of alleged rights abuse.

Local authorities have cordoned off his home in Dongshigu village and attempts by non-family members to visit him have failed, rights groups said.

On Thursday, activist Liu Shasha was taken into police custody for trying to visit Chen, while another campaigner was hospitalised on Thursday with broken ribs after being beaten by guards surrounding Chen’s village, the Chinese Human Rights Defenders said in a statement.

The group also said that on October 23, about 30 activists were assaulted and had their cameras and mobile phones robbed by a group of about “300 hired thugs” at the entrance of Chen’s village.

Shanghai campaigner Feng Zhenghu, who gathered nearly 400 signatures in an online “Free Chenguang” campaign, said police in Shanghai stopped him from participating in the October 23 protest.

“To defend (Chen’s) personal liberty is to safeguard your own right to freedom, to care about (him) is to care about yourself,” Feng told AFP.

“(His) illegal house arrest…is not unique, too many other Chinese citizens have experienced this.”

Also Friday, the US-based ChinaAid rights group said authorities in Yinan county, where Chen lives, brutally beat the activist and his wife in July after they discovered Chen had secretly made calls from his home without permission.

Chen and his wife were also severely beaten after they smuggled out a videotape of themselves documenting the conditions of their house arrest in February, the group said.

– AFP

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