Tuesday, May 16, 2006

TIME 100: The People Who Shape Our World

While I was out of town recently, I read in a Google News Alert that Chen Guangcheng was selected as one of TIME Magazine’s “100 most influential people in the world” list. Of course Chen is listed among “Heroes & Icons” with such familiar names as Wynton Marsalis, Angelina Jolie, Bill Clinton / George H.W. Bush, Ralph Lauren, Paul Simon, Al Gore, Katie Couric and many others.

Ever since I learned of Chen’s activism getting him in trouble I’ve been trawling the net for more information on his whereabouts. You see, I met him a few years ago and apparently his activism has caused him a lot of trouble with local authorities and perhaps the Chinese government’s top levels.

Here’s more on Chen and the plight of his fellow natives.

FLASHBACK – Chinese activist fighting forced sterilisations beaten
Date: 10-06-05 09:38

A few days ago I saw the typical headlines from China, “Chinese abortion activist beaten”. Sensing nothing new I failed to read the news articles. This morning I was informed that the person in question is a blind doctor whom I met through my day job a year or so ago. Reading the articles now (and knowing the horrors* that await political dissidents there and our own govt’s disinfo about such horrors as “urban legends”**) makes me want to despair, but instead I am enraged.

– Miles

Here is the latest TIME magazine article …

From the Magazine | Heroes & Pioneers

Chen Guangcheng

A Blind Man with Legal Vision


He may have lost his sight as a child, but Chen Guangcheng’s legal vision has helped illuminate the plight of thousands of Chinese villagers. Last year officials initiated a forced abortion and sterilization campaign against women in Shandong province who were deemed ineligible to bear another child under China’s strict family-planning policy. Even though national regulations prohibit such brutal measures, no one except Chen was willing to confront local officials, who may have felt that lowering the number of extra births would help their political careers. By filing a lawsuit on the women’s behalf, he became a hero in Shandong and an important player in China’s nascent civil society. “Someone has to fight for people with no voice,” he said last fall. “I guess that person is me.”Despite his pioneering legal efforts, Chen, 34, holds no law degree. When he was younger, the blind were prohibited from pursuing college degrees in China, so Chen could only audit law classes. But he learned enough to advise fellow villagers. Distraught citizens asked him last year if he could do anything about the coerced abortions and sterilizations. At least two women had been forced to abort their babies just days before their due dates. Chen traveled to Beijing to see what he could do. His drumbeat advocacy prompted the usually reticent State Family Planning Commission to call for the arrest of any officials who break the law. Yet three hours after meeting with TIME in Beijing to discuss the issue, Chen was shoved into an unmarked vehicle by public-security agents from his hometown. They bundled him back to his village, where he was held under house arrest for months. Despite the commission’s vow, only one official has been detained. Meanwhile, thugs routinely showed up at Chen’s home to rough him up. In March several dozen police arrived to take Chen away, and he hasn’t been seen since. But the people of Shandong haven’t forgotten the blind man who let the world see their tragedies.
Here are a bunch of Archived Articles on Chen and the Forced Sterilization issue…

China’s Forced Sterilization Tyranny Hits Home
10-06-05 09:38

Chinese activist fighting forced sterilisations beaten

Blind Social Activist, Lawyers Beaten in China
10-07-05 09:23

Blind Social Activist, Lawyers Beaten in China 10/4/2005 From: Newsblaze.com By: Radio Free Asia Submitted by Leon GilbertHONG KONG-A social activist who blew the whist

Who Controls the Family?
10-07-05 09:51

Chen Guangcheng, a blind farmer shown last month speaking with women in Linyi, China, was seized

More News Links on Chen Guangcheng
10-07-05 09:59

RFA: Blind Chinese Activist Describes 38-Hour Kidnapping by

Chen Guangcheng Still Detained Over China’s Forced Sterilization Programs
10-12-05 10:50

Chinese peasants jailed to enforce 1-child rule Chicago Tribune | October 10, 2005 BY EVAN OSNOS

In search of fair play and justice in China
10-13-05 16:41

In search of fair play and justice in China Frank Ching / Oct 13 CHINA has performed a miracle over the last quarter-century, lifting hundreds of millions of people from dire pov

Chinese Social Unrest – Local Crackdowns Backfiring
10-16-05 17:14

Riot police on alert in Taishi, Guangdong

Foe of China[base ‘]s coercive abortion policy beaten
10-17-05 20:04

Foe of China[base ‘]s coercive abortion policy beaten ACTIVIST BEATEN [^]- A blind activist who has campaigned against coercive population control policies in China was beaten recently, as were th

Chen Guangcheng’s Activism Helping Expose China’s Latest Largest Atrocity
10-22-05 17:07

Blind Activist Chen Guangcheng’s Activism Helping Expose What ‘Time magazine described the operation as “one of the most brutal mass sterilization and abortion campaigns in years.”‘ Chi

Forced abortions in China
10-24-05 16:02

Forced abortions in China by JEHANGIR S. POCHAlucky tot: An infant at a post-natal care unit in Beijing. (Reuters)

‘Law Is Dead’ – Blind China activist beaten up again
10-25-05 16:23

Blind China activist beaten up again – group Tue Oct 25, 2005 9:25 AM BST By Benjamin Kang LimBEIJING (Reuters) – A blind activist under house arrest for exposing forced abo

Forced Abortion Continues in China at Alarming Rate says Latest Report
10-26-05 21:32

Forced Abortion Continues in China at Alarming Rate says Latest Report Whistleblower Beaten AgainLINYI, October 26, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) [^] Despite claims by some Chinese auth

Blind activist sues officials over beatings for sterilization protest
11-09-05 20:59

Blind activist sues officials over beatings for sterilization protest Thursday, November 10, 2005A blind social activist who was put under house arrest and repeatedly beaten after

China Trips Up Its Barefoot Lawyers
11-18-05 15:43

China Trips Up Its Barefoot Lawyers by Jerome Alan Cohen Activist missing

April 22, 2006

Beijing: A blind rural activist whose campaign against China’s coercive family planning stirred international concern has been missing since March, his wife, who is under house arrest, says.

Chen Guangcheng, a self-taught legal expert in his mid-30s, drew international attention last year to accusations that officials in Linyi city, in Shandong, had been enforcing late-term abortions and other coercive family planning measures.

“It has been 40 days since Chen was apparently taken into police custody, Chen’s wife, Yuan

Weijing, said. – Reuters

Chen, I hope you are still alive and well. I hope that our countries can move into a future that isn’t some sort of Brave New World Order.

– sMilos

8:40:43 PM