Tag Archives: blind activist

Creative Person of the Week

19 Nov

Chen Guangcheng (born November 12, 1971) is a blind civil rights activist in the People’s Republic of China who drew international attention to human rights issues in rural areas. Due to a severe fever, he lost his sight at an early age. He was illiterate until 1994 when he was enrolled by Qingdao High School for the Blind and graduated in 1998. He studied in Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine from 1998 to 2001. After graduation he returned to his home region and found a job as a blind masseur in the hospital of Yinan county. Nonetheless, he managed to audit in law classes and learned enough to aid his fellow villagers when they sought his assistance.

He was placed under house arrest from September 2005 to March 2006 after talking to Time magazine about the forced abortion cases he investigated in Linyi Prefecture, Shandong Province. Authorities formally arrested him in June 2006 for destruction of property and assembling a crowd to disrupt traffic. During his trial, Chen’s lawyers were forbidden access to the court, leaving him without a proper defender. On August 24, 2006, Chen was sentenced to four years and three months for “damaging property and organising a mob to disturb traffic”

Chen was released from prison on September 8, 2010 after serving his full sentence, but remains under “ruanjin” or soft detention at his home in Dongshigu. Chen and his wife were reportedly beaten shortly after a human rights group released a video of their home under intense police surveillance on February 9, 2011. (Excerpt taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chen_Guangcheng#Early_life )