Friday, April 27, 2012

Chen Guangcheng escapes from house arrest

Christian Newswire reports that Leading activist, He Peirong told Women’s Rights Without Frontiers (WRCF) that blind forced abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng has escaped house arrest. 

Yaxue Cao, a key Chinese human rights activist who has been advocating on behalf of Chen Guangcheng, told WRWF that she spoke with Chen's nephew, Chen Kegui who told her that his mother had overheard guards saying that Chen Guangcheng had "disappeared" from his home, where he had been under strict house arrest. Neither villagers nor family members knew where he was.

He Peirong also told WRWF that she helped Chen escape to an undisclosed location outside of Shandong. She said that his health is stable, but she fears he is in danger. She also stated that the fate of Chen's wife, mother, daughter and son may be in jeopardy as well. 

A further alarming development is that on the night of Thursday, April 26, Chen's brother (Kegui's father) was also seized by a band of thugs, led by Zhang Jian (the head of the township). Kegui defended his parents using kitchen knives and injured the thugs, who ran away. Kegui then walked outside the village to surrender himself to the police. As he was standing outside the village, he told Cao that he fears for the lives of Chen Guangcheng and his family, and for his own life. 

Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, said, "We are grateful that Chen is no longer under house arrest, but we are concerned about his safety and that of his family. We call upon Secretary of State Hillary Clinton specifically to raise Chen's case during her visit to Beijing May 3-4. Indeed, we call upon the entire international diplomatic community to make urgent, official interventions on behalf of Chen with the Chinese government. We call upon NGOs and concerned citizens the world over strongly to support this great hero during his hour of need." 

Kegui also told Cao that he has seen Chen Guangcheng only twice since Guangcheng was put under house arrest. When Guangcheng's other brother died in February of this year, Chen burst out of the house but was forcibly returned by dozens of guards. Also, early in 2011, several relatives were allowed to visit Chen briefly during the Chinese New Year.