July 25, 2008

Hu is Asked to Put End to Harassment

The wife of a blind, jailed Chinese rights activist has appealed to President Hu Jintao to end official harassment of her family, saying she cannot wait for the Olympics to end.

Yuan Weijing's husband, Chen Guangcheng, was jailed for four years and three months last year for disrupting traffic and damaging property, charges his wife and critics say were concocted by officials angry at his exposure of forced late-term abortions in his hometown in Shandong Province.

"I once believed the Olympics would give the people of China a sense of pride and happiness, and allow the world to see how greatly China has been transformed by its rapid economic growth. I now feel only extreme disappointment," Yuan wrote. A copy of the letter was provided by the advocacy group Human Rights in China.

"Because of the Olympics' approach, people like me - nothing but a rights defender's wife - are being specially 'protected' by the government," she said, detailing the number of security guards who surround her house and make ordinary life impossible.

"I am hopeful that you, President Hu, along with our nation's other leaders, will be able to see the truth I have expressed in this pre-Olympics letter, and that you will gain an understanding of the humiliation and helplessness of my everyday life.

"I, like the people of this nation, am looking forward to the Olympics' arrival, and I hope for their success. At the same time, however, I am even more looking forward to the Olympics' end," Yuan wrote.

Rights groups say the government has been cracking down on dissent to ensure the Games go smoothly.

Originally published by Reuters.

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