Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chen Guancheng

Chen Guangcheng, a self-taught lawyer, is a blind man, born 1971. The Chen family, Chen, his wife Yuan and his daughter kesi, lives in East-Shigu Village, Yinan County, Linyi Prefecture, Shangdong Province, about 300 miles from Beijing.

A person of 'Light' and 'Sincere' (the two Chinese characters of his name Guang-Cheng), Chen was not new in Irking communists leaders in Shandong. 1996, Chen's petition ended the local policy of taxing people with disabilities, as it was ruled out in a national law enacted in 1991. Also, in 1998 Chen's petition stopped local government from double taxing farmers' land. However, the crime he had committed was exposing government brutality in the exercising of the One Child Per Family policy. Chen was jailed four years from 2006 to 2010. Chen was released from the prison in September, 2010. Chen returned to his home in Linyi, Shangdong. After that, nobody has been able to visit him, or speak to him over the phone.

The village Chen lived was remodeled into a jail. The villagers he once helped had been lured into living-in guards. 900 people, including 300 government employees and 600 villagers had been placed on the payroll of a task force to isolate Chen from the outside world. The villagers were paid CNY 160 ($20) a day for monitoring Chen. CNY 500 for each visitor they capture.

The only connection between Chen and the outside world is his mother, who is allowed to bringing in food to his house. His daughter, 7 years old Kesi Chen was not allowed to go to school. No paper or stationary was allowed to pass in the house, so Chen can not even home-school his daughter. Hundreds of surveillance cameras had been installed pointing to Chen's house from every angle possible. Flush lighting converts nights to days. Cell phone signals was jammed, too.

Chen's village, has earned a spacial statues, that you must visit to claim legitimacy in the moral high-land. Waves of activists, reporters, intelligentsia and other groups had attempted to visit Chen, who is legally a free man with no string attached whatsoever. Nobody has been able to accomplish that mission. More recently, a Xinhua News reporter traveled in personal capacity to the village, only to be robbed, beaten, and thrown out like a dog. His taxi was stopped at a check point near the village by traffic police. Then was led by the police to a yard, where local villagers robbed him, and jailed him for days before set him free in another town. The reporter has since been suspended by the Xinhua News.

Chen was not an anti-government, or anti-Communism, or even an activist on all account. He was not against existing law nor government policy, in particular, not against the One Child per Family policy. The only thing he did that was not in alignment with the Party was that he tried to expose those wrongdoings in the enforcing this police by local government officials.

It's not that nobody from upper up hasn't heard of the incident. Chen's situation had not only enraged Chinese, but had drawn attention from almost every corner of the world, and remained the hot topic on every negotiation tables the central government sat by in the world. British Foreign Secretary expressed concern over Chen's trail in 2006. In 2007, 34 US senators wrote to President Hu himself to express their willing to see Chen's release. Earlier this year on the eve of President Hu Jintao's State Visit to the US, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly renewed her commitment to see Chen's free. July, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved an amendment to Appropriation Bill of 2012 calling for the release of Chen.

Reflecting on Chen's experiences, it seems the Communists Party showed more toleration on policy issues, than on personal accountability, even when it was about the accountability of the lowest ranking agents. The common traits between the Communists Party and a mafia is that they valued loyalty the most. The difference between the two is that the CCP does not hold any principle. The Seagull is curious on how long can a mafia hang on street smart, without any principle.

20 more people from all over the country who do not know each other just signed up on the sina-weibo, the knocked-off edition of Tweeter that is allowed to operate in China, to visit the village today. They are in the age range from 17 to 69. They knew what would they be facing, but they felt it was nothing in comparison to what Chen has been suffering. They felt if their visit/mistreatment by police can bring one more thread of light on this unbelievable situation, and leads to its final resolution, it would be well worth it.

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