Chen Guangcheng’s "Civilized" Captors Loosen Their Grip

Sources close to the family of blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, who has been under house arrest at his home in Linyi since late 2010, told Reuters on Monday that provincial government officials in Shandong have answered calls to ease some restrictions on him and his family: He Peirong, an activist based in the east Chinese city of Nanjing, told Reuters the Shandong provincial government had responded to some of the requests of Chen’s supporters. Those included allowing Chen to receive medicine sent by supporters and to allow his six-year-old daughter to go to school. “He is at a delicate crossroads now,” said He, a Chen family friend. “The three conditions that we’ve requested the government for have basically been met.” “Except the issue about seeking medical treatment — they haven’t allowed him to go to the hospital for a full check-up.” County and town officials near Chen’s home who Reuters called about his case either hung up their phones when asked about him or said they could not speak to reporters. He Peirong said she doubted that the recent concessions meant that Chen would win his freedom, an assertion backed by a source close to his family. Still, sources told He that some government officials believe they have “gone overboard” with the matter, indicating conflicting views about how to treat him. While fellow activists, netizens, journalists and others have attempted to visit Chen, none have succeeded. Last week, ChinaGeeks translated a blog post by Beijing netizen Xiao Cuo, who sees Chen’s case as an opportunity for the development of civil society in China and urged fellow supporters to avoid violence and find creative ways to visit Chen: On 27 November, he blogged about (as expected, the original is being deleted) his experience of distributing and putting up notices about ...
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