Grassroots Campaigns Support Chen Guangcheng

It looks like a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) delivery, however it is not. It is a car sticker campaign ─ Free CGC, calling for the freedom of the blind legal advocate Chen Guangcheng. In this campaign, people decorate their cars with stickers of KFC style Guangcheng Portraits to disseminate the urgency of calling for the freedom of Chen and his family who have been under house arrest since September 2010. Photos of the free-CGC car stickers are posted on the campaign google map.

The slogal for the campagin reads: “If he can not be free, let his name and his longing for freedom be known to the world!”  #occupy_google_map

This is one of the many grassroots campaigns in China and around the world to support Chen, besides the continuous trying to visit him despite knowing clearly there are intimidation, beatings or and even detention ahead. While not everyone could be as brave and fearless as those who attempted to visit him under house arrest with intense surveillance and ‘security guarding’. These grassroots activities are comparatively safe but still inspiring.

Recently, on Sina Weibo, Guangcheng’s characteristic portrait picture appeared on self-printed T-shirts.  The following is a few discussions concerning the T-shirt.

… to wake up the sleeping people in this country.    ….   Cool, I will have one…. Smart, if people on street all wear this kind of T-shirt, some people then will be worried and cannot go to sleep.  … When you see one wearing it on the street, the person is a friend.

There has also been the Dark Glasses.Portrait campaign calling people to take photos wearing sunglasses and send their photos with a few words expressing their feelings about Chen Guangcheng. The photos together have become a powerful and continuously growing photo-wall, expressing the message to support Guangcheng from people from different walks, different ages, and different countries.

And a sister campaign Guangcheng & World calls people to take a photo of a Guangcheng picture or poster in any place they like and send them to be posted at the campaign Google map.

Phtoto courtesy of Xiaozuo

While graffiti has long been used to challenge authority, it has been used to support Guangcheng as well. Xiaozuo (A Small Team), consisting of a few lovely young people, have been posting fliers on lampstands and paint Guangcheng graffiti in places to make more people know him.

And there is performance art (in Chinese) too. In late 2011, a Chinese citizen, nicknamed Simba, who in fact also tried to visit Guangcheng, made a performance art in Beijing 798, a place full of artist studios and galleries. He made a big cage for himself, and stayed in for a hunger strike, wearing sunglasses, with a candle light (light is pronounced Guang in Chinese) and an orange (pronounced Cheng in Chinese) to show his support for Guangcheng.  

There are surely other activities that ordinary people are doing to support Guangcheng too. He just has been the concern for so many. On Sina Weibo, one Chinese citizen who attempted to visit Guangcheng says, “Sometimes when I am not busy, I just cannot stop thinking about the blind man in Dongshigu village. Is he fine?”  Nobody really knows, though sadly there have always been sayings on the Internet that his health is deteriorating day by day. Will all the grassroots campaigns help Guangcheng to gain his freedom soon? It is never easy to achieve justice before the leviathan, but clearly people will also not stop either until Guangcheng is free.

The most recent news is, on Sina Weibo, ordinary Chinese citizens are “kidnapping” VIP accounts users, urging them to speak out for Guangcheng; under this situation, some influential Chinese public intellectuals  start to react, arguing that the Chinese government should stop the house arrest for Guangcheng and his family. There have also been callings on the Internet for driving tours to Guangcheng’s village Dongshigu recently. While the May Day holiday is coming, will there will be another round of Dongshigu Tourist Promo? Let’s wait and see, and let’s certainly hope that Guangcheng and his family will gain their freedom soon.

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