This blog post is a partial translation of a Google Plus post by a cartoonist Biantai Lajiao, whose Twitter name is @remonwangxt . I understand that similar news has been published at the Epoch Times. I, however, have no means of independently verifying the story. Journalists who intend to conduct further investigations are advised to contact @remonwangxt directly. If you want your questions to be translated, please leave a message here for me to contact you.
This year, Chinese New Year’s Eve fell on the 22nd of January, a time when most Chinese families would ordinarily gather together for a reunion. It was not the case for the blind activist Chen Guangcheng from Linyi of Shangdong Province. Chen and his wife Yuan Weijing have been put under house arrest and are denied opportunities to meet with even their own relatives, let alone other people. Their 11-year-old son Kerui, who is now living with his grandparents, was not allowed to return home this year to see his parents. A request from Yuan’s parents to have a reunion with their daughter and her family was also rejected. Chen’s 80-year-old mother has recently contracted severe bronchitis. She was escorted to the hospital for treatment under the watchful eyes of surveillance guards. No one from the family was allowed to accompany her.
The latest round of news on Chen Guangcheng was released to Epoch Times by a netizen who blogs under the pseudonym Tumbleweed. Tumbleweed visited Chen’s family last year during Chinese New Year and brought back a letter from Chen to his friends. Since then Tumbleweed was detained and put under house arrest for almost half a year on suspicion of being involved in the smuggling out of a video tape. The release of the video alerted the world to the inhuman treatment that a blind dissident had been enduring under the Communist regime in China. Tumbleweed is still under police surveillance, even though he has been cleared of all wrong doings in around October last year. According to him, the tightening of control over the Chen family this Chinese New Year aims at preventing similar incidents from happening again.
It is understood that last year Chen’s elder brother was allowed to visit and spend his New Year’s Eve with his mother and younger brother’s family. Chen’s next door neighbours were allowed to pay him a visit in the morning of New Year’s Day. Even Chen’s son Kerui was given permission to return home for the New Year break, although he was forced to go through a strip-search every time he left the house.
The release of the video clip has changed all these conditions. This year Chen and Yuan are strictly confined to isolation in order to prevent revelation of similar information.
According to local customs at Linyi, New Year’s Eve is the time for one to pay a visit to one’s ancestors’ graves. It is also a gesture of inviting ancestors’ spirits home for the festival. Chen and Yuan were the only people in the village who were not permitted to take part in the ceremony.
Please check this website for the most up-to-date information about the Free Chen Guangcheng Campaign.