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.