Yue Chen – China

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She says: “I would like to tell the women inmates and the policewomen in the prisons that we should be self-confident, self-respecting, and hopeful about the future”.

Se says also: “Women are weak in many aspects. Many inmates in our prison had turned to destruction as a way to rebel against the injustices of the society. I think that Inmates with better understanding of the laws are able to protect their own rights and to protect themselves”.

Yue Chen - China rogne.jpg

Yue Chen – China

She works as a policewoman in the Women’s Prison of the city of Jianyang, Sichuan Province.

Chen Yue is a Communist Youth League member. On one occasion she fought against armed robbers and, along with her younger brother, sustained injuries. The public’s initial indifference to their plight is what led Chen Yue to understand the importance of human compassion and work as a policewoman with women prisoners.

At midday on 6 December 2001, 21-year old Chen Yue, and her 17-year old brother Chen Liang, witnessed a robbery crime in Wukuaishi, Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, China. They saw two men stealing a wallet from a woman in her forties. With no hesitation, sister and brother chased after the robbers. Chen Liang caught one of them, and forced him to face the wall.

During the struggle, the other man came back and turned the situation around. Realizing that they were no match for the robbers, the Chens cried out for help. But no one responded, neither did any one call the police to report the crime.

This encouraged the robbers who now pulled out knives and one them stabbed Chen Yue on her right chest. Still no one offered a hand. Chen Liang was also stabbed twice, after which the robbers ran away. The two supported each other and reached the hospital with difficulty, without any help from others.

After examination, Chen Yue asked the hospital to operate on her brother first as his right chest had two knife wounds. She waited for her turn to get on the operation table. Both were admitted into intensive care. Chen Liang’s wounds were shallower than his sister’s. Though he lost about 1000 ml of blood, he was out of danger in one day.

Chen Yue’s condition was much more serious. Her chest, abdomen and liver had multiple wounds and even the internal organs had been cut. She lost 700 ml of blood, and was declared out of danger in two days.

On the following day, reporters in Chengdu flocked the hospital. While publicizing the brave act of Chen Yue and her brother, the media also strongly criticized the indifference and cruelty of the onlookers.

Many people came to visit them in hospital. Baskets of flowers decorated their room and the corridor outside. For ten days, there were endless queues of visitors including teachers, schoolmates, friends, relatives, co-workers, and Chengdu citizens who knew them only through the media.

The most impressive blessing of all was when Chen Yue went back to work. Hundreds of inmates surrounded her in the middle of the prison playground tearfully wishing her good health. A prisoner from Xinjiang who had been sentenced for a grave crime wrote to Chen Yue, “I am a man who committed robbery and has been sentenced to death penalty with suspension. As slim as you are, you are a remarkable woman for standing up to the tough situation. As strong as I am, I am of no use to the society, but a stumbling block. I am so regretful for what I have done and I promise to reform myself”.

Later some of the eyewitnesses to the incident offered information to the police that was helpful in the investigation of the crime. One said that he had been condemning himself since the day Chen Liang, only seventeen, had fought against the savage robbers, while he stood by and watched indifferently and did nothing to stop the robbers from running away.

Indifference on one side, enthusiasm on the other, Chen Yue dramatically experienced the two extremes of human emotions.

Her reaction to the robbers was appraised as a ‘Just Act’, an impulsive response in a dangerous situation, not a result of rational consideration. As the chief the prison in which Chen Yue serves told the reporter, “I am not sure what would have happened if someone else were involved in this case, but Chen Yue’s reaction is nothing new to us”.

The widespread responses of the society in relation to Chen Yue’s act and personality reflect the hope and desire for decency and the rejection of indifference. After the Chen Yue incident, the Provincial Fund for Just Act has increased from 80,000 yuan to one million yuan.

There are altogether 22 policewomen in the section where Chen Yue works. They take charge of more than 390 women inmates, 16 of whom are under Chen Yue’s supervision. Starting to work at the age of 18, Chen Yue is charged with the responsibility of supervising a group of women inmates. At the beginning, like all other new policewomen, she had wept at her misfortune in being forced to face the dark side of society. But as she became familiar with the work and the people, her view changed.

She now sees her job as a worthwhile one, especially if she can help inmates assume a new life in society with confidence. She also believes that most inmates committed crimes because of financial constraints and not of their own free will.

Chen Yue likes to treat prisoners differently according to their different backgrounds. She has a deaf and dumb inmate who has no visitors, not even her family. Chen Yue cares for her in the prison and gives her clothes and accessories. In the summer, she even buys her medicine for preventing heatstroke.

In 2003, Chen Yue became a delegate to the National Congress of Women. When asked how she would face a time when she was no longer famous, she gave a simple and straight answer, “The fame will disappear sooner or later, and I would prefer it to go sooner. I need to get back to my normal life, to my normal responsibilities. It is better to be plain and standing firmly on the ground”. (1000PeaceWomen).

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