Thursday, May 24, 2012
Chen Guangcheng’s nephew could face death penalty
British TV Network Makes Contact with Chen Guangcheng‘s Relatives in China
By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
LONDON, UK (ANS) -- Britain’s Channel 4 TV network is reporting that it's correspondents tried to visit the mother and four brothers of Chen Guangcheng, the blind, self-educated lawyer who was flown to safety in the United States last Saturday as part of a deal reached between China and the US.
In an online report on its website blogs.channel4.com, the network says Chen’s relatives still live in a small rural community of 200 called Dongshigu in Shandong Province in north-east China. The village is currently patrolled by a large number of non-uniformed men who act as guards and enforcers on behalf of the local government.
Since the network’s report aired Tuesday, May 24, Channel 4 says it has heard that one of Chen Guangcheng’s brothers – Chen Guangfu – has also escaped the village.
The network says that like his brother, he did so in the dead of night when the local-muscle was presumably asleep. He is now in Beijing and Channel 4 just managed to speak to a number of people who are close to him.
“We were told that Chen Guangfu came to Beijing to expose what happened to his family on the night that the local guards realized that Chen Guangcheng had escaped,” said a Channel 4 representative.
“Just after midnight on April 27, the guards scaled the wall around his house and kicked open the doors. He says they put over a hood over him, took him to a police building and stomped on his feet and whipped his hands."
“How did Guangcheng escape,” they asked him repeatedly.
Chen Guangfu says the guards later returned to his home and beat his wife and his 32-year-old son, Chen Kegui, with shields and truncheons.
“It was at this point, according to Guangfu, that his son slashed three officials with a knife in an attempt to fend them off,” the Channel 4 report stated.
Kegui has been charged with “intentional homicide” and is currently being held in prison. He could face the death penalty, the network said.
The Channel 4 report goes on to say: “Our contacts told us that Chen Guangfu will not try to seek sanctuary at the US embassy and does not want to travel to America. We were told that he plans to return to Dongshigu later this week – although he was earlier warned that if tried to escape the village, the sentence for his son Kegui would be increased.”
Chen Guangfu said members of the Chen family are forbidden from leaving Dongshigu, Channel 4 reported.
The network says China’s Foreign Ministry described Chen Guangcheng as a “free citizen” after he was released from jail in 2010, but recent events illustrate how local authorities are used to throttle dissent as part of China’s “stability-maintenance” program.
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