Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned more details about the restrictions placed on Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), the blind Shandong-based rights defender who was released from prison on September 9, 2010. Chen and his wife, Yuan Weijing (袁伟静), are not allowed to leave their home, and no one – not even Chen’s mother – has been allowed to visit the couple since early October. Currently, measures similar to martial law have been imposed by the authorities in Chen’s village, Dongshigu, Shandong Province.
Yang Lin (杨林), a Shenzhen-based rights activist, told HRIC that in late October he was blocked from entering Dongshigu when he tried to visit Chen. Villagers told him that the authorities have mobilized more than a hundred people to control the four entrances to the village and monitor Chen’s family around the clock. According to Yang, several security cameras have been installed inside and outside Chen’s home. At night, bright lights mounted outside their home, reaching their bedroom, stay lit.
In September, when Chen and his wife were still allowed visits from relatives, the visitors were subjected to body searches before and after the visit. A female relative told Yang that she was subjected to strip searches on the two occasions that she visited Chen and his wife. At that time, relatives managed to throw food and vegetables into the yard of Chen’s home, but the authorities have banned the practice since early October. Now, no one knows the situation of Chen and his wife, and many are deeply worried about their safety and security.
“To imprison a man in his own home who has already completed his prison sentence and is not subject to deprivation of political rights is an outrage,” said Sharon Hom, the Executive Director of HRIC. “Unfortunately, this is a reflection of the current regression of rule of law in China, even as the Chinese authorities assert that there is progress.”
HRIC urges that international community call upon the Chinese government to immediately end the illegal de facto imprisonment of Chen and to effectively protect his right to personal freedom, which is protected by Chinese and international law.
For more information on Chen Guangcheng, see: