Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chen Guangcheng's elder brother speaks of ordeal

English translation based on YouTube video of interview with Chen Guangfu and his wife, conducted by Hong Kong-based iSun Affairs magazine on May 12, 2012.

Chen Guangfu
Chen Guangcheng's elder brother

Shortly after we turned off the lights, I heard a car stop outside. As soon as I heard the car at that time of the night, I knew it must have come for me. I knew they wouldn't let me off the hook after Chen Guangcheng left. So I quickly put on my clothes. As soon as I put on my pants, they broke into that outer door. Then they broke into the inner door, too. Two doors were broken into, very quickly.

Then they shouted: "Are you Chen Guangfu?" I said yes. Without warning, before I even got to put on my jacket, they covered my head with a hood, bent my arms behind my back and carried me out. As the hood was not properly put on, I could still see a little and realized they had also broken into the room on the east side. They had two groups of people breaking into my house simultaneously.

Then, sandwiched between two men, with another pushing my head down -- I figured there were four to five of them in total -- I was pushed into a car and driven to the office of the Yinan County Economic Crime Investigation Team. Having already cuffed me in the car, they placed me in a chair upon arrival. They chained my feet to the chair while my hands remained cuffed behind my back and raised upward.

They started slapping my face. None of them was in police uniform and they just asked if I knew what was going on. I said: "I don't know." They kept slapping, only on one side of the face. Then someone started pinching my rib cage and stamping on my foot with his leather shoe. Finally I said: "Is this because Guangcheng left?" They said: "Then why were you playing dumb earlier?" I said: "If this is about Guangcheng leaving, I can tell you everything."

So I told them everything. They wrote everything down, repeatedly. This thing involved many people. I didn't want to implicate others so I insisted I was the one who rescued him. I was not cooperating in exposing or talking about others, but it seemed they had already had some leads. They said: "It's fine that you don't want to talk about others, but let us remind you about someone -- do you know Liu Yuancheng from Xishigu Village?" When I heard that, I realized they had already known something.

I resisted for a long time but finally gave in. I hadn't planned to hide anything anyway. Since Guangcheng had already left, other details were rather meaningless. I was just reluctant to expose those who had helped Guangcheng, but they had already known something. They started reminding me of the names, one by one, knowing that I wouldn't volunteer information. Eventually I told them the whole thing. They interrogated me for two days and three nights.

During interrogation, they told me the guy in charge was Ma Chenglian (phonetic), the Communist Party secretary responsible for law enforcement in the county and also the police chief. He told me: "Something major happened in your house after you were taken away. I am not making this up and I'm telling you as the police chief that your son injured Zhang Jian with a kitchen cleaver. Zhang suffered more than 20 cuts and his survival isn't guaranteed yet. Your son also attacked two other guards." After telling me that, he said: "All this was caused by you because you helped Guangcheng escape. If you hadn't helped Guangcheng escape, such things wouldn't have happened in your house."

Since I knew him from before, I asked: "Secretary Ma, I respect you and hope you will answer me one thing truthfully -- did my son injure people in our own courtyard or on the streets?" He said it was in the house -- he said clearly it happened in the house. Then I said: "So he didn't chase people to the streets to attack them." They all laughed, and asked if I was thinking about hiring lawyers to claim my son had acted in self-defense. So I heard about my son injuring others while in jail.

When I returned home, I saw a lot of blood stain over there (pointing to the wall behind him). I think Secretary Ma was right that it happened in the house. The injured ran toward the door, leaving blood near the doorway.

Ren Zongju
Chen Guangfu's wife

They dragged (my son) inside and started beating him -- so many of them attacking a single man. They were so ferocious some stuff fell to the ground. Blood was steaming down my son's face, also on this thighs with flesh exposed beneath broken pants. He said me: "Ma, I have to run." My husband had left some money for me and the notes fell to the ground amid the chaos. Fortunately, nobody else had noticed. So I picked up the money and gave it to my son. I just said: "Take the money."

Friday, April 27, 2012

Chen Guangcheng addresses Premier Wen (my English translation)

*Updated with ChinaAid-produced video with English subtitles based on my translation.

Dear Premier Wen Jiabo,

I finally escaped. All the stories online about the brutal treatment I received from the Linyi authorities, I can personally testify they are true. The reality is even harsher than the stories that have been circulating.

Premier Wen, I hereby formally make the following three requests.

First, I would like you to personally intervene in this matter by sending an investigation team to find out the truth. Those who ordered county-level police and officials to break into my house, beat and hurt me, refused me medical attention -- without any legal foundation or officers wearing uniforms -- whoever made the decision has to be investigated and punished according to law. Their actions are so cruel it has greatly harmed the image of the Communist Party.

They broke into my house and more than a dozen men assaulted my wife. They pinned her down and wrapped her in a blanket, beating and kicking her for hours. They also violently assaulted me. Zhang Jian... many of county policemen whom we know like He Yong, Zhang Shengdong... and the men who repeatedly beat my wife before my release from prison like Li Xianli, Li Xianqiang, Gao Xinjian, etc. -- they all have to be seriously dealt with. There is another man whose family name is Xue.

As an affected party, I hereby accuse them of the following crimes: When they came to my house to assault us, Zhang Jian, the deputy Party secretary in charge of law enforcement in Shuanghou township, said to me unequivocally: "We don't care about the law and we are ignoring the law -- what can you do about it?" He repeated led people to my home to attack and rob us.

Li Xianli, who heads Team 1 that illegally confined me in my house, repeatedly beat my wife -- once even pulling her off the bike to assault her. He also beat my mother. Simply monstrous. Li Xianqiang, an official with the township's judicial authority, beat my wife last year, gravely injuring her left arm.

The man who guarded the village entrance and attacked Christian Bale -- I understand his name is Zhang Shenghe, an official with our township. He is the so-called "Military Coat" (or "Pandaman") in netizen's descriptions. Last February, he also hurled rocks at the CNN team. It was him -- no mistake -- I know that.

I also heard some netizens were assaulted by female guards. At first I didn't know there were female guards. Then I learned those so-called female goons were woman's affairs chiefs from surrounding villages or their families.

Then there is Gao Xinjian and many others whose names I don't know. I know they come from the police force, even though they don't wear uniforms and denied to be policemen. I asked them who they were and they scoffed: "We are sent by the Party and we work for the Party." I don't believe them. At most they work for a corrupt official within the Party.

From what I learned, other than various officials, each team guarding me has more than 20 people. They have three teams with a total of 70 to 80 people. When more netizens tried to visit me recently, they had several hundred people at one time and completely sealed off my village.

Starting with my home, they station a team inside the house and another one outside guarding the four corners. Further out, they block every road leading to my house, all the way to the village entrance. They even have 7 to 8 people guarding bridges in neighboring villages. These corrupt officials draw people from neighboring villages into this and they have cars patrolling areas within a 5-kilometer radius of my village or even further.

Besides all these layers of security around my house -- I think there are 7 to 8 layers -- they have also numbered all the roads leading to my village, going up to 28 with guards assigned to them daily. The whole situation is just so over the top. I understand the number of officials and policemen who participate in my persecution adds up to some 100 people. They repeatedly hurt us illegally and I demand a thorough investigation.

Second, although I'm free, my worries are only deepening. My wife, mother and children are still in their evil hands. They have been persecuting my family for a long time and my escape would only prompt them into a mode of revenge. Such retribution would only become worse.

They once broke my wife's left orbital bone. She suffers lumbar disc protrusion from all the beating and there are still lumps on her ribs due to physical assaults. She has been cruelly denied medical treatment.

My elderly mother, on her birthday, was pushed to the ground with her head hitting the door. She was crying and accused them of attacking an old woman. They scoffed: "It's true we're young and that's why you can't beat us." How shameless, how cruel and how unjust.

My child goes to elementary school accompanied by three guards. They search her bag every day and examine every textbook. They stop her from leaving school ground or home.

From July 29 to December 14 last year, they cut off power to my house. From last February onward, they have barred my mother from going out to buy groceries, making our lives extremely difficult.

I am very worried. I implore netizens to pay more attention to my family to ensure their safety. I also implore the Chinese government to ensure the safety of my family based on the principles of upholding the rule of law and protecting the interest of the people. If anything is to happen to my family, I will pursue this issue to no end.

Third, many people wonder why my situation has dragged on for so long without a resolution. I can say this: It's because the local authorities -- the decision-makers and the enforcers -- have no intention of resolving this. For the decision-makers, they are afraid of their crimes being exposed. For the enforcers, there is a lot of corruption involved.

I remember when they humiliated me last August in the Cultural Revolutionary style, they told me, you said in your video that 30 million yuan was spent on (your house arrest), that was the 2008 figure -- now the amount is more than double that and that's not even including bribery money for high-level officials in Beijing. Some of the hired guards have complained that they make so little since most of the money has gone to others.

It's been a great opportunity for all of them to make money. As I understand, the township gives team leaders money to hire guards and each guard is supposed to get 100 yuan per day. Those team leaders tell potential hires that they get only 90 of the 100 yuan. Since most farmers get 50 to 60 yuan working in the field, and the guard job is considered safe and comfortable with meals included, of course people are willing to take it. In just one team, with more than 20 guards, the team leader gets 200 yuan extra per day. How corrupt is that?

The leader of the guards watching my wife sells vegetables he grows to the teams for a profit. These things are well known but there's nothing ordinary people can do about them.

As for the "stability maintenance" budget, they told us the county would give the township several million yuan at a time and local officials would still complain how little they get. You can see the serious corruption involved in this process and how they abuse money and power.

Premier Wen, I would like to see you investigate and punish those corrupt officials who squander our taxpayer money on harming innocent people as well as the Party's image. When they commit despicable crimes, they always claim they are doing what the Party has asked them to.

Premier Wen, all those illegal actions have baffled many people -- is it just local officials flagrantly violating the law or do they have the support of the central government? I hope you will give the public a clear answer in the near future. If we have a thorough investigation into my case and announce the result, I think people would appreciate. If you continue to ignore me, what would the public think?

May 1, 2012: Visitors unwelcome in Chinese activist's hometown -
April 30, 2012: Chinese censors block news on blind activist's escape -
April 28, 2012: Escaped Chinese activist in U.S. embassy - (with Christian Bale reaction)
April 27, 2012: Chinese activist escapes from house arrest -