LINYI, China October 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Even as questions swirl about whether Chinese pro-life activist Chen Guangcheng is alive or dead, details have emerged about a vicious four-hour beating that the blind lawyer underwent in July.

According to human rights organizations closely following Chen’s case, for months there has been no reliable news about Chen, who has worked tirelessly and under constant threat of violence to oppose China’s brutal one-child policy, except for unconfirmed reports that he has died.

One organization, ChinaAid, says that the July beating it has learned about was witnessed by Chen and his wife’s elementary school-age son. The couple endured a similarly brutal beating in February after they had smuggled out a videotape documenting the shocking conditions of their illegal house arrest following Chen’s release from prison.

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Now, what ChinaAid says is a “reliable source”, has informed that the July beating occurred after a storm knocked out equipment that authorities had installed in Chen’s house to cut off all their telecommunications contact with the outside world. With the equipment disabled, Chen was able to make phone calls on July 25, but the calls were intercepted by authorities. On July 28, Shuanghou town mayor Zhang Jian reportedly led a group of people to Chen’s home and beat and tortured the couple for four hours.

According to China Aid, at 2 pm. authorities cleared everyone out of Chen’s village. They then conducted a search of his home, finding a phone card in a pile of ashes.

At around 4:00 pm., authorities started the beating. Chen’s screams of pain were heard first, while his wife Yuan Weijing was heard shouting angrily and their son Kesi cried. After a while, the source says Weijing’s screams of pain could also be heard. From then until 8 p.m., the only sounds were screams of pain.

Some time later, a village doctor was permitted to give Chen some cursory medical treatment.

During the four-hour beating, Chen’s elderly mother, who lives with them, was reportedly prevented from entering their home. When she was finally allowed to go in, neighbors heard her burst into tears, and her anguished cries - described as “gut-wrenching to hear” - continued for a long time.

According to the source, Zhang tortured Chen to try to get him to tell how he got the phone card to make the calls on July 25 and to reveal where he had hidden it. When Chen and his wife refused to give any details, their house was ransacked until the phone card was found.

“We condemn the Shandong authorities for their extreme brutality against innocent blind Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng and his wife,” said ChinaAid’s founder and President Bob Fu. 

“The Chinese government’s brutality against brave individuals like Mr. Chen who promote the rule of law should certainly make the world seriously doubt the sincerity of the Chinese government’s commitment to international human rights,” Fu said.

Chen was imprisoned for four years and three months for exposing the violent measures used to enforce China’s one-child policy, including forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations that in his county alone in 2005 numbered 130,000.

Since his release from prison in Sept. 2010, Chen has been kept under illegal house arrest, denied medical treatment for serious intestinal problems and deprived of all contact with the outside world. Reporters and activists who have tried to visit him have been roughed up and turned away.

On July 21, the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed an amendment to the State Department 2012 appropriation bill supporting Chen and his wife.

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