China: wife of blind pro-life campaigner beaten and detained

 The wife of Chen Guangcheng, a blind activist in China, has been beaten and detained. Lord Alton, writing on behalf of the Jubilee Campaign, has sent us the news that Yuan Weijing, the wife of Chen Guangcheng China's pro-life advocate, was detained at the Beijing airport on her way to the Philippines. In the Philippines Yuan was to receive an award on behalf of her husband, who is in prison. Chen has been named as one of seven winners of the Magsaysay award for his "irrepressible passion for justice in leading ordinary Chinese citizens to assert their legitimate rights under the law." In an interview with the Washington Post, Yuan said: "I was taken to the basement of the Beijing airport after I was stopped by the airport official at the security check. I saw 16-17 strong men in the basement, some of whom were from my town. We stayed in the basement for several minutes, and then left for Linyi." Yuan was then forcibly escorted back to her home town where the men "pulled her hair and twisted her arms, dragging her out of the car." They confiscated her belongings, while refusing to show any official legal documents regarding who they were and why they had taken her belongings. Yuan has since been returned to her home in Linyi. The self-taught Chinese lawyer, Chen Guangcheng, was first taken into policy custody in September 2005, after exposing China's brutal population control tactics in the Shandong Province. For months Chen was held without trial, subjected to beatings, and denied contact with his lawyer, his wife, and other advocates. On August 24, 2006, Chen was formally sentenced to serve four years and three months in prison for "damaging public property and gathering people to block traffic." Throughout the trial, Chen's lawyers were denied access to their client, harassed and beaten, and key witnesses were blocked from testifying; the trial itself lasted less than two hours. Since that time, Chen has made numerous unsuccessful attempts to appeal his sentence. In July, Chen was severely beaten for "being disobedient due to his insistence on filing an appeal to the provincial higher court." There continues to be great concern for Chen's health and safety. Lord Alton writes: "No longer can we stand idly by while China continues to silence dissidents and oppress its citizens. Please consider writing to the Chinese Ambassador on Chen's behalf and take a few moments to pray for his safety and immediate release. Please write a letter to the Chinese ambassador on Chen's behalf. Your voice can make a difference. The official addresses are listed below. UNITED KINGDOM Ambassador Zha Peixin Embassy of the People's Republic of China 49-51 Portland Place London W1B 1JL UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong Embassy of the People's Republic of China 2300 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20008 AUSTRALIA Ambassador Fu Ying Embassy of the People's Republic of China 15 Coronation Drive, Yarralumla, ACT 2600 *If you send a letter to your Embassy please inform the * The campaign also has postcards demanding the release of Chen which can be mailed to the Chinese Embassy. If you would like to mail a post card or would like to distribute them at your church or Bible study, please contact the campaign. For more information see:

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