As we in the UK start our Christmas celebrations, we are safe in the knowledge that our family lives will not be interrupted by arbitrary imprisonment or torture. We can (at least for now) speak out freely against pressure upon women to end the lives of their children through abortion. Chen Guangcheng has no such safety or freedom. Since speaking out against forced abortions and sterilisations in Linyi in 2005, the Chinese Communist authorities have subjected him to years of imprisonment, torture, neglect and harrassment. He is currently under house arrest. Christian Bale, the Hollywood actor, tried recently to visit him but was roughed up by officials instead.
Chen, who is blind, has become a icon for freedom, instantly recognisable in his dark glasses. Chen's supporters have started a Dark Glasses campaign to pressure the Communist government to release him. Anyone can join this campaign - simply take a photo of yourself wearing dark glasses, with a message of support for Chen, and email it to Women's Rights Without Frontiers - full details are available on their website. Here is the photo I'll be sending:
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