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Wife of Rights Activist Chen Guangcheng Forcibly Brought in for Questioning on the Way to Her Parents’ Home for Mid-Autumn Festival

October 3, 2006

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Yuan Weijing, the wife of blind activist Chen Guangcheng, was stopped and detained by police in Linyi City, Shandong Province, on October 3 where she and her daughter were in transit on the way to her parents’ home for the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Sources in China told HRIC that Yuan Weijing left her house at 7am on October 3 with her one-year-old daughter. Shortly after leaving her home, Yuan was followed by five or six individuals. At approximately 9am, they arrived in LinyiCity and planned to transfer to another bus to get to Linshu, but they were stopped by the police. Among the group of police were two deputy Party secretaries from ShuanghouTownship, YinanCounty named Zhang Jian and Yu Mingjiang. After stopping Yuan Weijing’s bus, they announced “[you are] summoned according to Article 91 of the Criminal Procedural Law,” and then forced her into the police car. Yuan Weijing had previously been summoned for interrogation on July 10 and July 20 this year.

After Yuan Weijing was taken to the ShuanghouTownship police station, the policemen told her, “Neither the city nor county approve of your visit [to your parents’ home]. If you insist on going there, we may arrest you, and, just like Chen Guangcheng, you will bear the consequences of that decision. It won’t be good for your parents, either.” According to sources, the Chief of the ShuanghouTownship police station was present through the whole process. Yuan Weijing was held at the police station where she was taunted and threatened. She was finally released at 6pm that evening.

Since Chen Guangcheng was taken into custody on March 11, Yuan Weijing has been reportedly kept under 24-hour surveillance by the police. She is followed whenever she goes out, even when shopping for groceries. After learning of Yuan Weijing’s plan to visit her parents two days ago, police increased the number of guards outside her house. It has been over a year since she last visited her parents on August 20, 2005, where her three-year-old son also lives.

After Chen Guangcheng was charged with “deliberately damaging property and gathering a mob to disrupt traffic” in mid-June, his hearing was delayed until August 18, 2006. Chen was represented by court-appointed lawyers after police detained three members of his defense time the night before his trial. On August 24, 2006, Chen was sentenced to four years and three months’ imprisonment.

Chen Guangcheng is appealing the judgment. After numerous attempts, Chen’s two lawyers, Li Fangping and Li Jingsong, were finally able to meet with him. On September 28, they were notified by the Linyi City Intermediate People’s Court that Chen’s appeal hearing would be closed.

Yuan Weijing noted that this kind of operating behind closed doors only demonstrated that the Linyi City authorities were afraid to allow public scrutiny of the evidence and judicial process, and that if the facts were made public it would prove Chen’s innocence.

HRIC condemns the harassment of Chen Guangcheng and his family and urges the international community to condemn the ongoing crack down on and intimidation of numerous other human rights defenders in China, including Three Gorges Activist Fu Xiancai and rights defense lawyers Gao Zhisheng and Guo Feixiong. HRIC calls on the Linyi City Intermediate People’s Court to afford a full, fair and open appeal hearing for Chen Guangcheng.