Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚)

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Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚)

Chen Guangcheng • 陈光诚


Recent Detention

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.

Further Information

Chen Guangcheng: A Special Bulletin – Updates on Situation of Chen Guangcheng & His Family Members, Relatives & Supporters Since Chen’s Flight for Freedom, May 15, 2012 (updated April 30, 2013), CHRD

The Chinese Government Must End Persecution of Chen Guangcheng, His Family & Supporters, Seek Accountability, April 27, 2012, CHRD

Submission to UN: Update on the situation of Chen Guangcheng, a human rights defender from the People’s Republic of China, November 28, 2011, CHRD

Why We Need More Pressure on the Chinese Government, Not Less, November 24, 2011, CHRD

Let there be light, let there be sincerity: the illegal house arrest of Chen Guangcheng and the unprecedented grassroots campaign to end it, November 11, 2011, CHRD

Chinese Government Must End Persecution of Family Members of Activists, February 11, 2011, CHRD

Activist Chen Guangcheng Released after Serving Full Sentence, September 9, 2010, CHRD

Several Activists and Dissidents Languish in Detention despite Serious Illnesses, November 5, 2009, CHRD

Soft Detention’ of Yuan Weijing Continues: Journalist Beaten, Barred from Meeting, March 10, 2009, CHRD

Imprisoned Human Rights Defender Chen Guangcheng Denied Medical Care, January 14, 2009, CHRD

Shandong Officials Continue Harassing Wife of Jailed Human Rights Defender – Authorities must end illegal surveillance of Yuan Weijing, November 24, 2007, CHRD

Police bar wife of imprisoned rights defender from leaving China to collect award, August 24, 2007, CHRD

Wife & child of prisoner at risk of abduction, July 7, 2007, CHRD

Human Rights Defender Beaten in Jail, June 20, 2007, CHRD

China vs a Blind Human Rights Defender, February 20, 2007, CHRD

CRD Condemns Violent Attack on Lawyers for Chen Guangcheng, December 27, 2006, CHRD

Chen Guangcheng Retrial Confirms Jail Term: Gross Injustice, Blatant Abuses, December 1, 2006, CHRD

CRD Welcomes Linyi Court Decision to Overturn Lower Court Verdict on Chen Guangcheng; Urges Fair Retrial, November 1, 2006, CHRD

Submission to UN on Chen Guangcheng: Update Communique to UN Special Procedures on the case of Chen Guangcheng, September 20, 2006, CHRD

Urgent Appeal Calling for Release of Chen Guangcheng, July 14, 2006, CHRD

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

Submission to UN on Chen Guangcheng: Updated information on Chen Guangcheng, March 17, 2006, CHRD

CRD Deplores Continued House Arrest of Chen Guangcheng, February 16, 2006, CHRD



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