A source knowledgeable about the blind rights defense lawyer Chen Guangcheng’s (陈光诚) escape from his captors told Human Rights in China (HRIC) that Chen is safe but does not want to leave China.
The source said that Chen’s nephew, Chen Kegui (陈克贵), who had a violent confrontation with intruders entering his house from the township government in the early morning of April 27, was taken away by more than 30 policemen later the same day from his home. Chen Kegui’s apprehension, witnessed by his wife and mother, came one day after his father, Chen Guangfu ( 陈光福) —Chen Guangcheng’s older brother—was taken away.
According to this source, five lawyers have arrived in Dongshigu Village, Shuanghou Township, Yi’nan County, Linyi City, Shangdong Province, to assist the Chen family. When the lawyers asked about Chen Kegui, public security authorities denied having taken him. They said: Chen Kegui has fled, and we have issued an order for his arrest.
On April 27, a video of Chen Guangcheng was released by an overseas Chinese language news website Boxun and later posted on YouTube. In the video, Chen asked Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to bring to justice those who committed crimes against him and his family and the corrupt officials who have profited from maintaining his surveillance and house arrest over the years. Chen also asked for the protection of his family members.
In the video, Chen detailed many beatings that he, his wife, and his mother suffered at the hands of dozens of police officers and Party officials acting on orders from the Linyi City and Shuanghou Township authorities. He described the deployment of as many as several hundred people in layers of cordons that enforced his 18-month house arrest: policemen were stationed inside and outside his home, at the four corners of the road leading to his home, and sometimes in the neighboring village, and vehicles patrolled an area in a five-kilometer radius around his village. Chen also described officials bragging about the money they were making from the employment of the large contingent of men who maintained his and his wife’s confinement. Chen also said that he fears retaliation that would target his wife, mother, and children.
Chen Guangcheng, a barefoot lawyer, served four years and three months in prison after he helped villagers resist forced abortions. Since his release in September 2010, he and his wife Yuan Weijing (袁伟静) have been unlawfully kept under house arrest by local authorities.
For more information on Chen Guangcheng, see: