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China Blocks Travel of Imprisoned Activist's Wife


Friends of a jailed activist in China say authorities have prevented his wife from leaving the country to accept a humanitarian award on his behalf.

Friends of Yuan Weijing say she was not allowed to board a flight Friday, from Beijing to the Philippines to attend the Magsaysay award ceremony after her passport was confiscated.

Authorities told Yuan her passport was invalid.

Yuan's husband, Chen Guangcheng, was one of several recipients of the Manila-based foundation's humanitarian awards.

Chen, a blind self-taught law expert, was sentenced to four years in prison last year on charges of organizing a group to disrupt traffic and damage property.

The charges and sentence came after he documented cases of forced abortions and other abuses by family planning officials in eastern China's Shandong province.

In a statement Friday, the Magsaysay Foundation said it regrets that neither Chen nor his wife was able to attend. It added, however, that as a nonpolitical organization it respects the right of every country to make decisions regarding the travel of its citizens.

It was unclear what happened to Yuan after her passport was confiscated at the airport. In a brief phone call to friend and human rights activist, Yuan said all of her belongings were taken from her and she had been kidnapped.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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