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Blind Human Rights Activist Released from Prison

Contact: Annee Kahler, Media Coordinator, ChinaAid, 267-210-8278, 888-889-7757, Annee@ChinaAid.org, info@ChinaAid.org, www.ChinaAid.org; www.MonitorChina.org

SHANDONG, China, Sept. 10 /Christian Newswire/ -- Chen Guangcheng, the famous blind human rights activist, finished his sentence of 4 years and 3 months on September 9, and was released at 6:30 AM yesterday morning. While in prison, he was brutally tortured and denied proper care. He is currently in bad health and needs medical treatment. 

Photo: Chen Guangcheng from Gongmin Weiquan Wang (www.gmwq.org) posted by RFA

Though he is out of prison, Chen Guangcheng's freedom is not yet complete. His family has been monitored and even harassed by public officials during his imprisonment. According to reliable sources, the authorities have threatened Chen and his wife that they will throw any family member in prison at any time, if they fail to cooperate. Yesterday morning, when he was released, Chen's wife Yuan Weijing, his daughter, and his elder brother were not allowed to pick him up from prison. Instead, they had to wait to greet him when he reached his home.  Now he and his family are being closely monitored by more than 20 policemen surrounding his home. No one has been allowed out of the house today, even for shopping, though his wife was able to buy vegetables the day before.  

Chen Guangcheng, a self-taught lawyer, exposed the atrocity of 130,000 mass forced abortions and forced sterilizations in Linyi County, Shandong, in 2005.  According to Reggie Littlejohn, ChinaAid's One Child Policy expert and the founder of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, "The use of forced abortion and coerced sterilization in Linyi County and elsewhere may be the result of pressure placed on officials to meet target or quotas set for their provinces to meet population goals."

Because he spoke out against these draconian measures, Chen was imprisoned in August 2006. He was charged with "damaging public property and obstructing traffic." 

Time Magazine named Chen Guangcheng as one of "2006's Top 100 People Who Shape Our World," in the category of "Heroes and Pioneers."  He was also nominated for the Nobel peace prize.

Chen has expressed his thanks to the international community for their help. See his initial comments after his release, in yesterday morning's interview with Chen Guangcheng by Zhang Min, reporter for Radio Free Asia.

Read more:
9-9-2010 Press Release from Radio Free China
9-2-2010 Report from Radio Free China, translated by ChinaAid

ChinaAid rejoices that Chen Guangcheng has been released from prison.  Now we call on local officials to grant Chen and his family the full rights of Chinese citizens by allowing them to move about freely from their home. To help Chen's family and others like them with medical expenses and basic needs, we encourage concerned individuals to donate to ChinaAid today.