Press Esc to close
Monday 25 September 2017
News updated at 2:36 AM IST

Blind Chinese activist flees house arrest

Beijing, April 27, 2012, AP: 0:08 IST

Dissident lawyer releases audacious video addressed to Prime Minister Wen Jiabao

A blind legal activist and inspirational figure in China’s rights movement fled the house arrest he has lived under and made it to a secret location in Beijing on Friday, setting off a frantic police search for him and those who helped him, activists said.

Chen Guangcheng’s escape, if ultimately successful, would boost a beleaguered civil rights community, which has faced rising arrests and other harassment over the past year.

Activists described an improbable escape, saying Chen slipped away from his well-guarded rural village on Sunday night, driven away by activists and then transferred to others who brought him to Beijing. By Friday afternoon, Chen “was 100 per cent in a safe location,” said Bob Fu, an activist based in Texas who runs the China Aid Association and who was in contact with people helping Chen. But Chen’s flight unleashed a police crackdown on his relatives and the people who helped him flee, activists said.

“I am now free. But my worries have not ended yet,” Chen said in an audacious video address to China’s Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday. A part of it was later posted on YouTube. It could not be independently verified. Speaking to a camera in a room with an off-white curtain drawn behind him, Chen said, “My escape might ignite a violent revenge against my family.”

A self-taught lawyer blinded by fever in infancy, Chen served four years in prison for exposing forced abortions and sterilisations in his and surrounding villages. Since his release in September 2010, local officials confined him to his home, despite the lack of legal grounds for doing so, beating him up on several occasions.

Chen was widely admired by rights activists at home who — led by blogger He Peirong — last year campaigned to publicise his case among ordinary Chinese and encourage them to go to Dongshigu village and break the security cordon. Even Hollywood actor Christian Bale tried to visit, but as with many others he was roughed up by locals paid to keep outsiders away.

Why activists spirited Chen to Beijing was not immediately known.
Though China’s most policed city, Beijing is home to foreign embassies that could provide asylum. Chen’s mistreatment has often seemed to be a vendetta by local officials, and perhaps Chen and his helpers thought a direct appeal to the central leadership would help.

The escape threatens to unleash a new wave of negative publicity for the authoritarian government when top leaders are already dealing with the fallout from the toppling of a former powerful politician, cashiered amid allegations of corruption, murder and abuse of power.

Online rumours and unconfirmed reports said Chen had sought protection at the US or another foreign embassy. The US Embassy declined comment.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
An artist decorate the idol Goddess Durga with a saree made of pure gold at a...

An artist decorate the idol Goddess Durga with a saree made of pure gold at a...

Artist perform ballet Swan Lake is the most beloved, classic and quintessential ballet...

Artist perform ballet Swan Lake is the most beloved, classic and quintessential ballet...

Children dressed as Lord Hanuman take part in a procession during Langur Mela at the...

Children dressed as Lord Hanuman take part in a procession during Langur Mela at the...

Bollywood actress Vaani Kapoor walks the ramp as showstopper at the...

Bollywood actress Vaani Kapoor walks the ramp as showstopper at the...

Bollywood actress Richa Chadda and Kalki Koechlin during the shooting of a song for their...

Bollywood actress Richa Chadda and Kalki Koechlin during the shooting of a song for their...

Women dance on the occasion of Lalita Panchami during Navratri celebrations at a pandal, in...

Women dance on the occasion of Lalita Panchami during Navratri celebrations at a pandal, in...

A pandal, themed on the Jagannath Temple of Odisha, in Ranchi on Sunday ahead of the...

A pandal, themed on the Jagannath Temple of Odisha, in Ranchi on Sunday ahead of the...

Union Minister for Defence, Nirmala Sitharaman and the Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat...

Union Minister for Defence, Nirmala Sitharaman and the Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat...

Tollywood actor Mahesh Babu with actress Rakul Preet Singh and director A.R. Murugadoss during a...

Tollywood actor Mahesh Babu with actress Rakul Preet Singh and director A.R. Murugadoss during a...

Armed forces during a multi agency exercise 'Pralay Sahayam' conducted at...

Armed forces during a multi agency exercise 'Pralay Sahayam' conducted at...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.