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The brother of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has fled his family’s captors in a second escape from their Shandong village. Chen Guangfu arrived in Beijing on Thursday morning after escaping the home where his relatives have been living under strict control since his brother escaped house arrest and fled to the US embassy in Beijing in April. Chen Guangfu is said to be seeking help for his son, Chen Kegui, who was arrested on attempted murder charges earlier this month following a clash with intruders who broke into his home to search for his uncle.
UPDATE: Chen Guangcheng’s relatives have described beatings by local authorities since the activist fled house arrest last month. His brother, Chen Guangfu, father of Chen Kegui was reportedly detained for three days, during which time he was beaten and interrogated.
Chen Guangfu described his ordeal to Hong Kong-based magazine iSunAffairs.com, telling them he was hooded and taken away from his home shortly after Chen Guangcheng escaped. He said: “They put me on a chair, bound my feet with iron chains and locked my hands with handcuffs behind my back,” he said. “They pulled my hands upwards forcefully. Then they slapped me in the face.”
Chen Guangcheng condemned the “pattern of abuse” against his relatives.
The nephew of blind Chinese activist and “barefoot lawyer” Chen Guangcheng has been arrested on charges of attempted murder. Chen Kegui faces charges ranging from 10 years in prison to the death sentence, after he brandished a meat cleaver at intruders searching for his uncle, who escaped from his 18 month-long house arrest in his native Shandong province last month.
Speaking to the Independent, Chen Guangcheng said his nephew had injured, but not killed, some of the intruders who broke into his house in Linyi, Shandong, to search for the activist.
Chen Kegui’s lawyers have come under pressure to drop the claim that Kegui acted in self-defence. His lawyer, Liu Weiguo, has been forbidden from talking to foreign media about the case. Other Chinese lawyers have branded the charges as “ridiculous”.
Chen Guangcheng, who was housed at the US embassy in Beijing following his escape, has said he fears his family would be subject to reprisals if they returned to Shandong. The blind self-taught legal activist, who is currently in a Beijing hospital awaiting permission to travel to the USA, criticised the “mad retribution” his family were experiencing.
Guancheng has told the Guardian that his brother was not allowed to leave his village, and his sister-in-law has been released on bail. His older brother’s family have had all of their phones confiscated, including mobiles.
Chen, noted for his efforts to expose forced abortions and sterilisations, spent four years in prison on charges of disturbing public order before being placed under house arrest in September 2010. Those attempting to visit him have faced harassment and beatings from officials.
Chen Guangcheng won the Index on Censorship whistleblowing award for his activities in 2007