China Activist Chen Suffers Malnutrition in Detention

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Jennifer LeClaire

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After repeated beatings and malnutrition suffered in house detention, blind
pro-life activist Chen Guangcheng’s health is deteriorating quickly. Now, human rights organizations are pushing harder than ever for his freedom.

Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and China Aid Association on Tuesday
called for urgent action on Guangcheng’s behalf. In order to drive more
attention to the international cause, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers
released a new video demanding freedom for Chen and his family. (You can view the video at the end of this story.)

Guangcheng was arrested in 2006 for exposing evidence that 130,000
forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations were performed on women
in Linyi County, Shandong Province in a single year. Time Magazine named
him one of “2006’s Top 100 People Who Shape Our World” and he was given
the 2007 Magsaysay award, known as Asia’s Nobel Peace Prize.

“The abuse of Chen Guangcheng is
unconscionable and contrary to the rule of law,” says Bob Fu, president of China Aid. “His mistreatment under
house arrest is deplorable, including beatings, constant surveillance,
as well as confiscation of his computer, cell phone, books, his blind
cane and the toys of his young daughter.”

Guangcheng spent four years, three months in prison. Since his September 2010
release, he continues to serve a sentence of home detention. Both in
prison and under house arrest, hen has experienced mistreatment and
beatings. He and his wife and daughter are not allowed sufficient food
and are isolated from all outside contact.

“Chen’s wife sounded the alarm in a letter recently smuggled out
of China,” says Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers. “She said that Chen’s health is very fragile and worsening
every day because of beatings, malnutrition and an intestinal illness.
She is worried about his survival. Chen sacrificed everything to tell
the world the brutal truth about forced abortion in China. He is a
warrior for women’s rights. Now it’s our turn to sacrifice on behalf of
Chen by fighting for his freedom.”

The groups are calling on the international diplomatic
community to make official interventions on behalf of Guangcheng with the
Chinese government and asking individuals to write Chinese
embassies and consulates around the world and sign the petition to Free
Chen Guangcheng at:
www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/index.php?nav=chen-guangcheng#petition
.

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