Wang Jinxiang, mother of blind activist Chen Guangcheng, walks in the courtyard of her house where Chen was under house arrest, at the Dongshigu village, Shandong province, China, Friday, June 8, 2012. Cameras and security guards that kept Chen under house arrest have gone, but fear lingered among residents of his village Friday and even his mother advised him not to come home. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
DONGSHIGU VILLAGE, China (AP) — The fear is palpable and most people only dare whisper Chen Guangcheng’s name in this village amid wheat fields where the blind activist was held under brutal house arrest.
The guards and cameras are gone, but residents remain terrified of local officials and the fellow farmers who meted out the mistreatment — and still live nearby. Even Chen’s mother says he should not come home.
“The government spent lots of money to watch the little blind one,” Liu Wencai, an elderly farmer, told The Associated Press as he walked down a village alley Friday.
But when asked about the hired enforcers, Liu said, “I cannot answer.”
Chen escaped six weeks ago and is now living in New York with his wife and two young children. The villagers he left behind don’t want to talk about the brutality he and his family were subjected to during 19 months of house arrest.
A middle-aged man on a motorcycle refused to speak about the guards who once stood at the entrance to Dongshigu and chased outsiders away. He made a Login to read more