Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚)Comments Off on Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚)
Chen Guangcheng • 陈光诚
Crimes: Gathering a crowd to disrupt traffic, intentionally destroying property
Length of Punishment: 4 years, 3 months (with subsequent illegal residential surveillance of 19 months)
Court: Yinan County People’s Court
Trial date: August 18, 2006
Sentencing date: August 26, 2006
Dates of Detention/Arrest: March 11, 2006 (detention), July 21, 2006 (arrest), September 9, 2010 (released)
Place of Detention/House Arrest: Home from September 9, 2010, to April 22, 2012, when Chen escaped house arrest in Dongshigu Village, Yinan County, Linyi City, Shandong Province
Verdict: Shandong Province Yinan Intermediate People’s Court Criminal Verdict (Chinese only)
Chen Guangcheng, a rural “barefoot lawyer” born on November 12, 1971, has campaigned for the rights of villagers and the disabled, providing free legal consultation to these groups from 1996 until he was detained in the fall of 2005. Starting in April 2005, Chen and his wife, Yuan Weijing, began to investigate villagers’ claims that Linyi City authorities in Shandong Province were employing extensive violence in implementing government birth quotas, and later put together briefs for lawsuits filed against local officials. Their work was part of the first known concerted domestic effort to challenge the violent enforcement of China’s population policy. As a result of their work, Chen and Yuan were put under house arrest in August 2005. Chen was taken into custody on March 11 and formally arrested on July 21 of 2006. He was then tried by the Yinan County People’s Court on August 18, 2006, convicted on August 26 of “intentionally destroying property” and “gathering a crowd to disrupt traffic,” and sentenced to 4 years and 3 months in prison.
After Chen’s release from prison on September 9, 2010, he and his family were under house arrest, subjected to tight monitoring, constant harassment, and virtually complete isolation up until April 2012, when Chen escaped from the extremely oppressive circumstances. While under house arrest, Chen and his wife reportedly were beaten, and Chen was deprived of medication. In the fall of 2011, an unprecedented campaign was ramped up to bring greater attention to Chen and his family’s plight. Increasing their online activism and coordination, netizens and many others headed to Chen’s home village to face inevitable bullying by authorities while also holding advocacy events, posting information about Chen’s situation outside his home village, and exposing in detail the brutal restrictions faced by Chen and his family. Chen escaped his house arrest in late April of 2012, sought refuge in the US Embassy in Beijing, and eventually was allowed to go the United States with his wife and two children after high-level diplomatic negotiations took place between American and Chinese officials.
Submission to UN on Chen Guangcheng: Communication Alleging Arbitrary Arrest and Detention of Chen Guangcheng, a human rights defender and citizen of the People’s Republic of China, June 21, 2006, CHRD