Chen Guangcheng is a self-trained legal adviser who exposed forced abortion and sterilisation practices in Linyi County, Shandong Province, and sought legal redress for the victims. He has also given legal support to many others whose rights have been violated, including farmers forcibly removed from their land without due process or compensation.
2005: arrested for exposing forced abortion and sterilisation programme
In 2005 Chen Guangcheng fell foul of the Shandong province authorities after drawing attention to an illegal campaign of forced late-term abortion and sterilisation of thousands of women in the Shandong province by Linyi city authorities.
Chen, a blind human rights activist and self-trained legal adviser to the poor, had been helping reidents of Linyi prepare a lawsuit against the local authorities responsible when he was placed under house arrest.
In August 2006, he was arrested and imprisoned for 'damaging property' and 'disrupting traffic' after a grossly unfair trial, where he was denied access to defence lawyers. While in prison, Chen was beaten and refused medical treatment.
2009: released from prison, but under house arrest
On 9 September 2010, Chen Guangcheng was released at the end of his four-year prison sentence and returned home to the village of Donshigu in Linyi County, Shangdong province. Upon his release, Chen Guangcheng and his family were immediately placed under illegal house arrest.
Visitors attempting to see Chen while under house arrest told media they were beaten bloody, robbed of their possessions, and driven away from the village with bags over their heads.
2012: Escape from house arrest
After 19 months of illegal house arrest, Chen made a bold escape from his detention, with the help of several friends and made his way to the US Embassy in Beijing.
On 27 April a video message appeared online, in which he directly addressed China's Premier, Wen Jiabao, asking for justice for himself and for those who had been illegally detained and punished alongside him.Watch the video
Since Chen Guangcheng’s dramatic escape reports have emerged that several members of his family together with supporters who aided his escape at great personal risk have faced pressure from the authorities.Go back to action
Family planning in China
China's 2002 Population and Family Planning Law attempts to standardise policies and practice in the implementation of family planning policies across the country and to safeguard citizens’ rights. However, local birth quotas play a prominent part in the policy, upheld by stiff penalties as well as rewards. Reports of coerced abortions and sterilizations have continued and few officials are believed to have been brought to justice or punished for such abuses.