China’s Intimidation of Dissidents Said to Persist After Prison (Updated)

Rights lawyer , the wife of Nobel Peace Prize winner , and housing activist , are among some of China’s dissidents currently facing political pressure. From the New York Times:

Chen Guangcheng is officially a free man, but it is hard to imagine a life more constrained. One of the country’s most prominent rights defenders, Mr. Chen is confined to his home 24 hours a day by security agents and hired peasant men armed with sticks, bricks and walkie-talkies. Visitors who try to see him are physically repulsed and sometimes beaten. Blinding floodlights illuminate his stone farmhouse at night.

With Internet and phone service blocked, he has no contact with the outside world. And the punishment is not his alone: Mr. Chen’s wife and young daughter have been subjected to the same restrictions since he emerged from a 51-month prison sentence last September, widely viewed as retribution for his advocacy efforts against a local family planning campaign of forced abortions and sterilizations.

“I have come out of a small jail and walked into a bigger jail,” Mr. Chen, 39, a blind, self-educated lawyer, said in a homemade video that was smuggled out of his village last week. “What they are doing is thuggery.”

Update: Meanwhile, Liu Xia, wife of imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, was able to briefly go online on Thursday and briefly corresponded with a friend, who said that she reported being “held hostage” in her apartment.

February 18, 2011, 8:37 PM
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Categories: Law, Society