A group of netizens and rights activists plan to make another attempt this week to visit blind rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng, who is under house arrest, despite the risk of being beaten by government security agents outside his home.
Chen has been confined to his tightly guarded house in Dongshigu village at Linyi city with his wife and child for almost a year, totally cut off from the outside world after his release from a four-year jail term.
All three roads to the village are watched around the clock by security personnel, according to recent microblog posts.
About 10 days ago, Beijing-based activist Liu Shasha and several others traveled to Dongshigu village in the hope of visiting Chen and his family but were pounced on and beaten by around a dozen men guarding the main intersection of the village as soon as they got out of their vehicle.
“We all plan to arrive at the entrance to Dongshigu village at 10:00 a.m. on this coming Wednesday, Oct. 5,” said Liu, who is still nursing injuries from her previous trip.
“This time we want to try another road that we didn’t use before,” said Nanjing-based rights activist He Peirong, known by her online nickname as @pearlher, who plans to make the fresh trip on Wednesday together with Liu and Beijing human rights activist Miaojue.
The new group will be bigger in size and also include other rights campaigners from Nanjing, Henan, Hunan, and Shandong, He said.
Nanjing activists targeted
Police have already started to question some of the trip participants from Nanjing.
“We know this time we might be attacked again. However, we have to go because this is a price we have to pay,” Liu said.
“We don’t have any organization, but the beating from the authorities has bound us together.”
A college student and netizen from Nanjing is among those planning the trip Wednesday.
Using a cybername “secondgenerationslave,” the college student was born after 1990, in what is known in China as the “Post 90s Generation.” Ironically, this “generation” is often mocked for their apathy towards social injustice.
“From elementary school until college, I have never engaged in these kind of activities,” the shy netizen said.
“Many elderly online friends worry about my safety. But for me, I have to do some risky things that are justified,” the young man said.
Rights activists say they are increasingly concerned over the situation of Chen and his family.
Chen, 38, a self-taught lawyer who has persistently campaigned for women's rights issues under China's draconian family-planning regime, was jailed for four years and three months for “damaging public property and obstructing traffic” by the Linyi municipal court in August 2006.
Chen had exposed abuses like forced abortions and sterilizations by local family planning officials under China’s “One Child” policy.
He had served the full jail term in spite of repeated requests for medical parole.
Reported by Qiao Long for RFA’s Mandarin service. Translated and Written in English by Ping Chen.