Fri, Feb 11, 2011 - Page 1 News List

PRC using ‘hooligan methods’ to silence critics: activist

AFP, BEIJING

A blind Chinese activist under house arrest since his release from prison in September has appeared in a video accusing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of using “hooligan methods” to silence campaigners.

Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠), who gained worldwide fame for exposing abuses in China’s “one child” population policy, has not been heard from since he was freed five months ago after serving a four-year sentence.

He was jailed in 2006 after accusing family planning officials in Shandong Province of forcing women to have late-term abortions or be sterilized.

The hour-long video, obtained on Wednesday by the US-based rights group China Aid from a person it said was a “reliable government source who is sympathetic to Chen’s cause,” contains Chen’s first public comments since his release.

“The conservative forces of the Communist Party have reached their worst point in openly ignoring the Constitution and laws to crack down on villagers and activities aimed at defending rights,” Chen said.

“They are using hooligan methods to provoke and make trouble [for us] — they say we will beat you and beat you and the judicial departments will ignore it,” said Chen, who is in his late 30s.

Chen said three teams, each composed of 22 people, monitor his home 24 hours a day, following orders from the CCP and the secretive state security ministry.

Police also intimidate Chen’s neighbors, calling him a “traitor” and a “counter-revolutionary,” he said.

“Chen Guangcheng has been released, this is correct, but he can be put back [in prison] at anytime,” Chen quoted police as saying. “This is one party rule, it is very simple — if we say you are guilty, you are guilty.”

During the video, Chen’s wife and child also called for an end to his house arrest, which they said was illegal.

Some of the footage shows a security agent peering over dried corn stalks into the windows of Chen’s village home as part of their monitoring.

Chen, unrepentant, vowed in the video to continue his fight to improve China’s human rights situation.

Although he has no formal legal qualifications, Chen is what is known in China as a “barefoot” or self-taught lawyer. He has been blind since childhood.

He helped people seek legal redress over a wide variety of injustices, with corrupt officials a particular target.

Local police declined comment when contacted by reporters yesterday.

Both the US and the EU have repeatedly urged Chinese leaders to end Chen’s house arrest and return his freedom of movement.

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