A brief visit to the website of China Digital Times led me to some detailed information about Chen Guangcheng‘s retrial last week. It’s appalling to find out how hard the defense lawyers worked and how much intimidation the family and witnesses have sustained. The defense lawyers submitted a 56-page statement to the court and part of the statement described how one villager was tortured to provide a confession as evidence for Chen’s case. Other parts of the statement provided detailed accounts of those who experienced forced sterilization and abortion in Linyi of Shandong province and this is the hardest to read. Family members were forced to hit each other. People were arrested in the middle of the night. And there were some ridiculous “family planning” slogans hanging around villages:

“No action after first birth, sterilization after the second, if sterilization is refused prosecute.”

“Hit it out, force it out, abort it, just so long as it is not born.”

No wonder Chen Guangcheng had to stand up for these villagers. Unfortunately, Chen is now in prison. His lawyers didn’t have an easy time either. Their efforts in gathering evidence were consistently interrupted by police. One of them, Teng Biao was detained on the morning of the retrial. While in detention, Teng was roughed up, searched and interrogated. He was never told why he was detained. Moreover, Chen’s wife was detained the day after the retrial and the police released her from detention by dragging her out of a police car to the side of a road outside her village.

How much more violent acts will these people experience until the rest of the world takes a more active approach to condemn China’s human rights records?

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