Rights advocate Chen Guangcheng says the Chinesegovernment has quietly promised him it will investigate abuses heand his family suffered at the hands of local authorities, in arare instance of Beijing bowing to demands of an activist. Beijing’s apparent willingness to look into the blind legalactivist’s complaints is another sign that his gambit late lastmonth when he fled house arrest in his home town for the U.S.Embassy and set off a diplomatic tussle has succeeded in gettinghigh officials to address his concerns. Chen said an official from a central government bureau that handlescitizens’ complaints has visited him in his Beijing hospital fourtimes, including to take a statement last Thursday. After he took my statement, he said they would launch aninvestigation as long as there are facts, and that if there arefacts about the illegal actions, then the issue definitely would beopenly addressed, Chen told The Associated Press in an interviewMonday. Commercial LED Displays
Chen said it remained to be seen how seriously Beijing would probeabuses by township and county officials, which date back to 2005after Chen angered local authorities by documenting forcedlate-term abortions and sterilizations in his rural community. Will the investigation be thorough? That’s hard to say, so we’llhave to keep monitoring, Chen said. The State Bureau of Letters and Calls, as the complaints office isknown, did not respond to attempts to seek comment. A man whoanswered the phone at the duty office of the bureau refused toprovide a contact number for officials who handle media requests. China Outdoor LED Video Displays
But even a preliminary investigation shows the extraordinary amountof attention Chen’s case is getting. Hundreds of thousands ofordinary Chinese are believed to present petitions every year andonly a fraction result in action. Chen served four years in prison on what supporters said werefabricated charges and was then kept under house arrest with hiswife, daughter and mother. Chen has described how besidesassaulting him, officials would also beat up his wife and mother,at one point chasing his wife on the road, pulling her from avehicle and then hitting her. His daughter was also subject tosearches and harassment. China Stadium LED Display
The mistreatment has often seemed extreme and personal, exposingthe impunity local officials believe they have and Beijing’sunwillingness or inability to do anything about it. For all itspower, the authoritarian government relies on local officials toenforce policies so Beijing must be careful not to alienate them.However, with Chen’s case now an international issue, Beijing iseither feeling compelled to act or it is seizing the opportunity toget rid of local officials it dislikes. Unless a case becomes a big issue or crisis for them, even thoughthey may or may not like what the local authorities are doing, theydon’t have a lot of reason to try to intervene, said Dali Yang, apolitical scientist and faculty director at the University ofChicago Center in Beijing.