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China activist abused by authorities: rights groups

Prominent Chinese rights activist Chen Guangcheng [HRW backgrounder, JURIST news archive] and his wife have been "beaten senseless" by authorities, according to Friday reports from China Aid and Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) [advocacy websites]. Chen, who is blind, is currently under house arrest, and the beating may have been related to a video released [CHRD press release] on Wednesday by China Aid in which Chen talks about the frustrating circumstances surrounding his confinement. In the video, Chen described the condition of confinement, including 24-hour surveillance, cut phone lines and the inability to receive medical attention [China Aid press release]. Although Chen is well-known, visitors are routinely turned away, and the video is the first word from the activist since his release [CP report].

In September, Chen was released [JURIST report] from a Chinese prison after serving a four-year sentence [JURIST report] for damaging property and "organizing a mob to disturb traffic." In January 2007, a Chinese court rejected Chen's final appeal after a Chinese intermediate appellate court ordered a retrial [JURIST reports] in November 2006. Chen's trial was thrown into disarray in August 2006 when Chinese police arrested three of his lawyers [JURIST reports] who were accused of stealing a wallet. Two were later released, but Chen refused to accept court-appointed substitutes, insisting they were not familiar with his case.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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