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China: One year after being released from jail, human rights defender Chen Guangcheng and family remain prisoners in their own home
Today, 9 September, marks a year since human rights defender Mr Chen Guangcheng was released from jail, after serving more than four years in prison on account of his work exposing forced sterilizations and abortions in Linyi City, Shandong Province.
Since his release on 9 September 2010, Chen Guangcheng and his wife have been kept as prisoners in their own home. They have been beaten a number of times and stripped of nearly all their possessions. The couple’s six year old daughter and Chen’s 76 year old mother are also being detained with them. The entrances to the village and the house in which they live are cut off by up to 30 men. Any attempts by the international media, foreign diplomats or fellow human rights defenders to visit the family have been unsuccessful and have been often met with violence.
The family is being physically prevented from stepping foot outside their property. Phone-jamming equipment has been installed around the house to stop them having any kind of contact with the outside world. There have also been reports that the family is facing severe food shortages as they are not permitted to leave the house in order to buy food, and so must rely on vegetables growing in the family’s vegetable patch to survive.
“Front Line strongly condemns the ongoing house arrest of Chen Guangcheng and his family, and on this sad anniversary urges the international community to make its voice heard in demanding the full release of Chen Guangcheng, his wife, his daughter and his mother.” said Front Line Executive Director Mary Lawlor today in Dublin.