“Brother of Blind Chinese Dissident Escapes Guarded Village”

Although Chen Guangcheng is safely in America by now, people have been worried about his extended family and the activists who helped him escape from Linyi. Apparently the guards who have kept them under wraps are farcically incompetent, though, because another Chen has escaped and made it to Beijing:

The brother, Chen Guangfu, said he came to Beijing to advocate on behalf of his son, who has been in police custody since attacking a group of plainclothes officers who broke into the family home in their search for Chen Guangcheng. He also said the family’s village in the northeastern province of Shandong has been subjected to the same severe restrictions that drove his brother to seek sanctuary in the American diplomatic compound.

Mr. Chen, 55, a farmer and itinerant laborer, said he slipped out of the village on Tuesday around 3 a.m. while his minders slept.

In the unwritten deal that paved the way for Mr. Chen to leave the embassy, Chinese officials said they would investigate the local Shandong officials who orchestrated his 19 months of house arrest — and the retributive beatings periodically administered to him and his wife.

It is unclear whether such an investigation has begun.

“There is still some hope but if nothing is done, it shows that these were just empty promises,” said Wang Songlian, a researcher at Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

So far it appears that Mr. Chen’s relatives in rural Shandong have suffered the most. Chen Guangfu, the older brother who arrived in Beijing on Wednesday, says he was whipped and stomped on by angry interrogators who wanted to know how a blind man could have evaded dozens of guards and scaled several high walls. The abuse, he said, lasted 48 hours.

But it is Chen Guangfu’s son, Chen Kegui, 32, who stands to lose the most. He is being held at a detention center in Yinan County and faces attempted homicide charges. According to lawyers the family asked to defend him, Chen Kegui slashed several officers who broke down the door of his family’s home shortly before midnight on April 27. The men, he claims, did not identify themselves as police officials and were beating his mother.

Chen Kegui went into hiding but was later apprehended.

The authorities have rebuffed the dozen or so lawyers who stepped forward to represent Chen Kegui. One says he had his license revoked, and several others claim travel bans or threats have prevented them from traveling to Shandong.

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Filed under Chen Guangcheng, enforced disappearance

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