Letter from wife of Chinese blind activist reveals graphic details of torture
A letter from the wife of a blind activist in China was released recently by ChinaAid, detailing the torture and beatings that she and her husband have been subject to since he was placed under house arrest.
Yuan Weijing, wife of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, said in her handwritten letter that her husband and she had been abused and beaten to unconsciousness by dozens of plainclothes men led by a local Communist leader. Afterwards, they were denied medical treatment, Reuters reported.
Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid, slammed the cruelty and called on the international community for support saying, “Peaceful legal advocates, like Chen Guangcheng, can be beaten, jailed and tortured, but they will not disappear unless the international community is silent.”
Fu added, “This is unacceptable from a country that claims to follow the rule of law. The international community, including the Obama administration, should call China to account.”
Chen had been in jail for four years, and last September was placed under house arrest. In 2005, Chen exposed abuses committed by the government through its population control policy, including forced sterilization and late-term abortions, the AFP said.
However, the police claimed that he was jailed for disruption of traffic due to a protest and damage to property. Chen and his family say the charges are false, Reuters reported.
Chen is a self-taught lawyer who has been blind since childhood. He often advised neighbors who complained of various abuses including land grabs, according to Reuters.
Torture was stepped up against the family, including Chen’s mother and his daughter, since last February, after a surreptitiously-made video was released by ChinaAid which showed the conditions of Chen and his family under house arrest, Reuters reported.
Fu, president of ChinaAid, told Reuters that Yuan’s letter was smuggled through “very reliable persons,” and added that the handwriting matches previous correspondence by Yuan.
International support needed
Yuan said that on Feb. 18, (one week after the secret video was released), some 80 plainclothes men led by Zhang Jian, vice secretary of the town’s Communist Party, forcibly entered their home.
The men, who did not produce any legal documents, beat and tortured the couple for more than two hours. “More than 10 men covered me totally with a blanket and kicked my ribs and all over my body,” Yuan wrote.
“After half an hour’s non-stop torture, I finally squeezed my head out of the blanket. I saw more than 10 men surrounded Chen Guangcheng, torturing him. Some of them twisted his arms forcefully while the others pushing his head down and lifting his collar up tightly,” she wrote in her letter.
After the beatings, Yuan described the following injuries: “My left eyebrow bone and one of my bottom left ribs might be broken. My left eye lost vision for 5-6 days because of the bruise, blood in the white of my eye, and swollenness. Even today, I still cannot stand with my body straight and I suffer pain when breathing,” according to the letter.
She wrote in her letter that they were not allowed to receive medical aid, except for a one-time injection that Yuan was allowed to be given from a village doctor. Yuan also said the men took away their video camera, audio tape recorder, chargers, flashlight and computer.
Yuan then narrated the following sequence of events:
- Mar. 3: Their windows were sealed with metal sheets.
- Mar. 6: Electric power was shut off.
- Mar. 7: Guards came at midnight and cut the TV antenna.
- Mar. 8: Electric power was returned. However, Zhang Jiang led some 50 men into the house to get old computers, DVD
player, remotes, all materials on Chen’s case and handwritten materials. Zhang also punched Yuan because she said they were stealing.
- Mar. 17: Zhang Jiang led some 50 men into their home and took away books, photos of the children on the wall, a calendar, Chen’s blind cane, old power plugs, wires, antenna and papers.
- Mar. 22: Two video cameras were installed in the family home and courtyard.
Yuan said their five-year-old daughter is also under house arrest and the men took her toys and books. Chen’s mother was also monitored even when she worked in the field as a farmer. By mid March, she was not allowed to leave the house at all.
Yuan also said that Chen suffers from long-term diarrhea and the blood is now dark instead of its former red color. The guards have been threatening to move the family to an empty courtyard, she wrote in the letter.
Foreign journalists who have tried to visit Chen have been forced away and calls to local government offices by journalists and to China’s Foreign Ministry are not answered, Reuters said.
To see the video footage that was made last Feb. 9, and which initiated the latest rash of abuse, go to www.chinaaid.org/2011/02/exclusive-video-shows-ill-treatment.html.