Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng with his family prior to his serving a four year prison sentence. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
A group of Internet activists trying to visit blind human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng has been detained by security forces, according to dissidents contacted by The Epoch Times. Chen has for months been confined to his home by thug-like enforcers, who have from time to time carried out violent raids and beatings. His case has received international attention from human rights groups.
The activists called their pilgrimage the “October 5 Visit to Chen Guangcheng,” but by the afternoon of Oct. 5 none of them were contactable by telephone, and the last messages they left were desperate cries for help.
Chen, who became famous when he was interviewed by Time magazine in 2005 about his investigation into regime-organized forced abortions, lives in Linyi, Shandong Province.
Finding his work a nuisance, in August 2006 communist authorities convicted him of “damaging property and organizing a mob to disturb traffic,” and sentenced him to four years in prison.
But after his release he was put under extralegal residential detention. He is prevented from having much contact with the outside world, and a group of hired roughs keep vigil around his house, throwing rocks at would-be visitors and tormenting Chen and his wife in captivity.
Liu Shasha, an Internet activist, first conceived the idea of visiting Chen, and enlisted five others from Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province. They had joined forces with local activists Mr. Xu, Liu Yong, and a Buddhist monk named Shi Chexin.
All nine are unreachable, according to phone calls made by The Epoch Times and according to people who tried to contact the individuals.
Miao Jue, a relentless human rights activist who has long taken an interest in Chen’s case, told The Epoch Times that all of the individual’s cell phones appeared to be off. The last phone call that Miao Jue received was from Liu Shasha at 3 pm on Oct. 5.