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Chinese authorities launch crackdown as pro-life activist freed from prison

Catholic World News - September 10, 2010

A blind lawyer who had documented forced late-term abortions and sterilizations in Shandong province was released from prison on September 10 after four years. Chinese authorities carefully closed down communications in his native village upon his return, obviously hoping to minimize publicity.

Chen Guangcheng had suffered beatings from prison guards and fellow inmates during his confinement. The human rights activist’s trial gained international attention because his lawyers were beaten the night before the trial and because he was convicted on charges of inciting violence and destroying property at a riot he did not attend.

In a sign of the repressive nature of the Communist regime, relatives reported that authorities cut Chen’s family’s phone lines upon his release as police descended on his village. “Reporters from the Associated Press who tried to enter the village Thursday said men in plainclothes came running, scuffled with the reporters and pursued them at high speed as they left the area,” The Washington Post reported.

The Post also noted that “China might face a baby shortage in the future” because of its one-child policy.

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