New Tactics to Rally Around Blind Activist Lawyer

For months, netizens, journalists and ‘adventure tourists’ have been trying to visit blind lawyer and human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, who has been detained at his home at Linyi, Shandong province since late 2010. Not a single one of them have succeeded in breaking the defense held up by local officials, police and thugs, who are not shy to use brutal violence.

But Beijing netizen and experienced ‘grass mud horse’ Xiao Cuo (twitter: @zokio) does not think this is a dead end. Quite the contrary, he encourages netizens to use their imagination and design new tactics to rally around Chen’s cause. He sees Chen’s case as an opportunity to nurture the civil society and citizenship concepts in China.

On 27 November, he blogged about (as expected, the original is being deleted) his experience of distributing and putting up notices about Chen Guangcheng’s cause around Linyi city and Chen’s village. Rather than trying to approach him, they attached notices to electric poles, village house walls and even notice boards in Linyi University. These notices have attracted attention from students and local villagers. Perhaps the thugs responsible for holding up Chen are amongst them?

Xiao Cuo dubbed his project “Operation Old Military Doctor”. Back in the 1980s, roving doctors in China often boasted themselves as experienced “military doctors” who could cure many diseases in advertisements they put up on electric poles and street walls.

He thinks that violence should be avoided, and a new mode of operation is needed. Reaching Chen should no longer be the movement’s aim. Rather, netizens should extend the battle zone to a wider area, and raise the awareness of local villagers and the very people involved in the crime. Here are Xiao Cuo’s thoughts in his own words (translated):

  1. From the perspective of citizenship education and strengthening of the civil society, no lesson is better than the one offered by Chen Guangcheng, which is pure, simple, low-risk and sustainable. Whether legally, rationally or emotionally speaking, our opponent is in a disadvantaged position. Rogue is all they are left with. Chen has sacrificed himself for us. We should not waste the lesson offered by him.
  2. Let us not focus our attention on cases like Little Yueyue which have no sustainability. What Chen Guangcheng’s enemy hope for is victory by the passage of time. If we are distracted by other buzz and let the temperature on Chen cools down, we let our enemy’s wish comes true.
  3. Some people portray Chen with a weak image of being insulted and hurt. This is a misinterpretation. As a blind individual, he is giving the central and local governments, which have mobilized hundreds of people and millions of dollars, sleepless nights. Can we find another blind man as brave?
  4. Some people think that Chen’s situation is a dead end without solution. Wrong! Whether there is a solution depends on Chen himself. Now Chen does not want to let the government off the hook, thus creating this dead end. Chen shouts: “Open fire on me!” So brave. Those who think that Chen is being harassed and persecuted are wrong.
  5. Unless constrained by time, or physical or financial reasons, every grass mud horse should at least go there once, even if you only pass by there on a car. This is the bottom line of being a grass mud horse, if you regard yourself as one.
  6. I admire those who went there and endured violence. Their heroic behaviour started this battle. But we should put an end to violence because it is not sustainable. Not every one has the courage to endure being beaten up. This will scare away new comers, and affect the morale of the participants and audience alike. Civic actions should proceed along sustainable paths, which are low-cost, low-risk and fun.
  7. Chen’s village is now a formidable castle. We cannot hope for breakthroughs by direct confrontation. Entering Chen’s village should no longer be our aim. We need to extend the battle field to surrounding areas, and replace fists with pens. Only by raising the awareness of local villagers can we exert moral and public pressures on the thugs.

Tactically speaking, he advises netizens to adopt a low-profile, be swift in action, dress as locals and avoid going in large groups. Having a well-planned route is also important. To sustain public attention, he suggests disclosing operational results bit by bit first, before publishing a complete record. Sharing the route taken is also a good idea, so that others can plan different ones. Of course, his idea is only one possibility among many. He challenges netizens to use their imagination and implement even more brilliant plans.

Update: Xiao Cuo was subsequently questioned by the police for his action. This is extracted from the daily briefing by Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) for November 28-29:

Beijing netizen Xiao Cuo (小撮) was questioned for seven hours, from the late evening of November 28 to early the next morning, about advocacy efforts made for activist and lawyer Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), who lives with his family under house arrest in Shandong Province. Officers from the Dongsheng Police Station interrogated Xiao after netizens, including Xiao, pasted materials about Chen around the periphery of Dongshigu Village on November 19, and just after Xiao posted information and suggestions online about a “new method” for going to see Chen. Taken away by two police officers, was told to agree to not to post further about Chen’s situation, an order he reportedly refused.

0 thoughts on “New Tactics to Rally Around Blind Activist Lawyer”

  1. The general trend is that developed countries have lower birth rates, whatever the cause may be. The call (from experts within PRC) for the end of OCP already started. There were some expectations that one of the past few national congress meetings would repeal or at least change it to a TCP (two child policy). In a way, TCP is actually in play now since the OCP of the last generation gets to have two with out being served paperwork. Perhaps in the future, that turns into 2 kids or get fined an old folk support fee 😛
    Please be a human with a brain and a heart who doesn’t blindly support an policy that’s actually evolving away from what you support and definitely don’t support the inhumane implementations of it. That’s what the rest of us (and CGC) are harping on, theoretically with the backing of the laws and regulations which unfortunately are routinely ignored.


  2. To Jason,
    have you looked at the links provided by cephaloless? Which article of the family planning law permits “forced abortions”?

    Your “thinking” really leaves me speechless. We are not talking about incomplete documentation here. An unjust and illegal procedure remains unjust and illegal even if all the “paperwork” is in order. It’s arguments like this that make a mockery of the whole lot of you CCP apologists.

    What part of the OCP or family planning law says that “forced abortions” is legal? Not to mention that a law of “sovereign China” can certainly be illegitimate, since it is not a law made by the people. And as FOARP mentions (and the articles cephaloless links to even stipulates), there are means to control population that don’t require you to forcibly violate women against their will. Your logic is no better than saying that if China legalizes rape, then rape is ok. Unbelievable!

    I’ll retract my earlier statement about you taking “30-50 years” out of thin air, since you did have a legitimate basis for doing so. What does that report say about India? Again, I don’t believe FOARP’s point was that the OCP was ineffective at populaton control. I believe his point is that it was not necessary or not essential, because population control can be and could have been effected by other means.

    How can you say that birth control has no effect on population? Are you now trying to tell us what women in China believe, when you have no “qualifications” for doing so (ie you’re not a woman, and you’re not in China)?

    To cephaloless:
    “brain” and “heart” have nothing to do with it for the typical CCP apologist. Their duty is to support the CCP, no matter what. Compassion for chinese people and capacity for independent thought really have no role.


  3. @cephaloless

    where still no payment is made, the administrative department of family planning that decides the charge shall apply to the people’s court for “FORCIABLE PUNISHMENT”.

    I wonder what “FORCIABLE PUNISHMENT” mean. Hmm….


  4. Yes, I wonder what “forcible punishment” means. Considering that they’re talking about payment of fines, and government recourse for recalcitrant non-payment of fines, a reasonable person would conclude that the “guilty” party would be “forced” to pay those fines. Maybe wages would be garnished. Perhaps their property will be additionally taxed. Who knows, maybe even a lien will be placed on their property. Any means available to government to enforce payment of the administered fines. However, a reasonable person would NOT assume that non-payment of fines will result in the government forcibly invading a woman’s body. But then again, you’ve never been a “reasonable person”, and likely never will be. Simply not possible for a CCP apologist.


  5. @ S.K.C
    I was just hoping these guys are human rather than a bot although that explains the “typing at a brick wall” feeling very well 🙂


  6. @non-payment of fines, a reasonable person would conclude that the “guilty” party would be “forced” to pay those fines. Maybe wages would be garnished. Perhaps their property will be additionally taxed.

    Explain to me how you get to your point. So the government is going to use more fines as a forcible punishment when a individuals has no money to pay the previous fines when they want their second child.

    @However, a reasonable person would NOT assume that non-payment of fines will result in the government forcibly invading a woman’s body.

    Then they should send it to the non-state controlled orphanage initially if they refuse to aborted it.

    @ SKC, On you previous comment on how India fares to China in 2050 on population growth. Here:

    I disagree with you that FOARP sya


  7. “Explain to me how you get to your point.”
    —the article in question spoke of “fines”. Typically in English writing, stuff said in the same paragraph will refer to the same thing. So “forcible punishment” in that same article will be referring somehow to collection of those fines beyond voluntary payment. It doesn’t specify how, but it sure as heck doesn’t logically lead to forced abortions.

    “So the government is going to use more fines as a forcible punishment when a individuals has no money to pay the previous fines when they want their second child”
    —no. Who said anything about “more fines”? Forcible punishment means compelling payment for those fines. Who said anything about individuals having no money to pay the fine? Now, that is a possible scenario, but the articles do not stipulate how such a situation would be handled. Still, it is a bizarre illogical leap to go from fines to forced abortions. You need to improve your English, and your logic.

    “Then they should send it to the non-state controlled orphanage initially if they refuse to aborted it.”
    —and where in the articles does it say that? If anything, the most you can say is that “forcible punishment” is not explicitly defined, and is therefore open to interpretation. But it is unbelievable to suggest that forced abortions is a reasonable interpretation, particularly in light of the other things expressly stated in the other articles. The same would apply to state-sanctioned abduction of the infant, as you seem to suggest here.

    Thanks for the link. I will look at that later.


  8. To Jason,
    I looked at the table you provided. I can’t find the methodology of how they make the future projections for 2050, so there’s really no way to see if those estimates are based on reasonable assumptions. The 2010 numbers seem to be based on census data, so is at least verifiable.

    It seems China’s population has increased by 2.4X from 1950 to 2010. India’s population has increased by 3.2X from 1950 to 2010. Based on raw numbers alone, one could say that India’s population growth has outpaced China’s by 33% over the last 60 years. The much trickier part is to determine whether the OCP is responsible for that difference, or how much of that difference is attributable to OCP rather than to other factors.

    The even more interesting thing would be to try to determine what China’s population now would be without the OCP, to assess the numerical impact of the OCP. Of course, that would also be fraught with hypotheticals.


  9. Chen obviously is enjoying a honey moon period of popularity and fame. He together with Liu Xiao Bo and Ai Wei Wei has world-wide appeal. Hopefully these icons should have an impact on China depending on two factors. First, China is experiencing a lot of unrest within her borders. China can no longer operate as if those live within the borders know nothing about what’s going on. Second, there are still a lot of people in China who are co-opted by the party to either believe that the west is trying to put down China or they receive so many benefits from the government or party, even though they have a private agenda, including shipping their assets or children overseas, they have to maintain the front of supporting the status quo


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