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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 November 2006, 22:46 GMT
Chinese activist's wife detained
Undated photo of Chen Guangcheng
Defence lawyers are optimistic the court will acquit Mr Chen
The wife of a blind Chinese activist has been detained by police, one day after the end of her husband's retrial.

Yuan Weijing was held outside court in Yinan County, where Chen Guangcheng was tried on public order charges.

Mr Chen was sentenced to four years in prison in August, but the verdict was quashed earlier this month.

Mr Chen's supporters say the charges against him are politically motivated, because he has exposed abuses of the Chinese government's one-child policy.

Monday's retrial ended with one of the defence lawyers walking out in protest at key witnesses going missing.

A verdict could come as soon as this week, and defence lawyers expressed optimism at the end of the trial that the court would find Mr Chen not guilty.

Beijing theory

Lawyers for Mr Chen said they had not been informed of any reason for his wife's detention by police.

They produced a summons which didn't state on what grounds Yuan could be held
Teng Biao
Family lawyer
"They [police] came from a car without a licence plate and produced a summons which didn't state on what grounds Yuan could be held," Teng Biao told the Reuters news agency.

The lawyers said they believed Ms Yuan was held to prevent her travelling to Beijing to complain officially about her family's experiences with authority.

"If Yuan Weijing comes to Beijing, our legal team will be able to better understand which police have been trying to torture a confession out of Chen Guangcheng," lawyer Li Jinsong told the AFP news agency.

"We could then sue the police for torture."

Violations

Chen Guangcheng was originally sentenced to four years and three months in jail for "damaging property and organising a mob to disturb traffic".

The official Xinhua news agency reported that he had launched an attack on government offices and police cars in Yinan County, because he was upset with workers carrying out poverty relief programmes.

But Mr Chen's supporters said that local officials had fabricated these charges in order to punish him for exposing violations of China's one-child policy.

Mr Chen had accused local health workers in Linyi city, in Shandong province, of illegally forcing hundreds of people to have late-term abortions or sterilisations.

China brought in its one-child policy 27 years ago, in a drive to curb population growth, but forced sterilisation and abortion are prohibited.




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