By BosNewsLife Asia Service
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)– The wife of Chen Guangcheng, a blind human rights lawyer under house arrest in China’s Shandong province, has urged the international community to intervene, amid concerns about his health.
Yuan Weijing said the family have been guarded by 12 policemen, thought to be from Shandong Police, “day and night” since Chen’s release from prison on September 9.
Although Chen is suffering from “very poor health” authorities have refused to allow him access to medical treatment, despite repeated requests, she added in a statement sent last week from the couple’s home.
Their five-year-old daughter is allegedly prevented from going to school and the family are reliant on Chen’s mother, who is in her 70s, to shop for groceries.
Chen’s wife reported that the home has been stormed by police on several occasions without prior warning and threats have been made against Chen’s life.
“Their village is guarded at each entrance by a total of 100 men, some of whom are believed to be policemen,” said advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) in a statement monitored by BosNewsLife Wednesday, November 30.
Chen, a self-taught lawyer who was blinded during childhood, has been prosecuted by Chinese authorities since 2005 when he began to expose human rights abuses related to China’s one-child policy.
He was reportedly sentenced to four years and three months imprisonment for “intentionally damaging property” and “gathering crowds to disturb transport order”.
Mobile phone jamming equipment has been installed to prevent the family communicating with the outside world for most of the time, Christians said.
Chen, who is known as the “barefoot lawyer”, has been an outspoken proponent of human rights through his legal work. Lawyers who worked to defend him during his trial in 2005 and 2006 were regularly beaten and intimidated, according to rights activists.
“The request for help comes at a time when dissidents are under increased attack,” noted CSW.
The group said Liu Xia, wife of the Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo, has been under house arrest in her Beijing apartment since the announcement that her husband was to be given the award.
Additionally Fan Yafeng, leader of the Chinese Christian Human Rights Lawyers Association, is also under house arrest “and subject to constant police harassment in Beijing” since being warned not to speak to foreign journalists in October, CSW said.
Rights activists have linked the reported harassment to the activities of his Association whose members are renowned for taking on human rights and religious freedom cases.
CSW said that in the latest incident on November 24, police detained Dr Fan, his wife and their three-year-old son until 1.30am, the next day. And, “The academic and house church leader has been banned from contacting foreigners and holding Christian meetings in his home.”
CSW’s Advocacy Director, Andrew Johnston told BosNewsLife he was concerned about the pressure on Christian dissidents. “At a time when China’s influence on the world stage is increasing, the international community must not forget the reality of life for those Chinese who dare to speak out against injustice,” he said.
His group has urged the Chinese government to release Chen Guangcheng, Liu Xia and Dr Fan Yafeng, “individuals whose detention has no legal basis in international law.”
Chinese officials have not commented, but the government has repeatedly denied wrongdoing saying it respects religious freedom.