Restrictions have reportedly been imposed upon the extended family of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who spent six days in the US embassy last month after fleeing house arrest and is currently awaiting permission from Beijing to travel to the US with his wife and children.
According to the Associated Press, both his brother and sister-in law have been placed under house arrest, his nephew is in police detention, and other half-dozen relatives face some form of restriction on their movements in their village in Shandong province, Chen, his lawyer and a human rights group have said.
“I feel that Shandong’s retribution against me has already started,” Chen told the news agency Thursday, speaking from the Beijing hospital where is receiving treatment for a leg injury sustained during his daring escape last month after almost two years of house arrest.
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Chen and his lawyer, Liu Weiguo told the BBC that Chen’s nephew, Chen Kegui, has been arrested in Shandong on suspicion of attempted murder after he tried to defend himself against three people – including the head of Shandong town – who broke into his house on April 27. Chen said his nephew’s wife appeared to be missing, and that police had threatened his brother’s family.
Chen and his family had been illegally detained in their home in Shandong for two years before he escaped. He had previously served four years in jail after he exposed forced abortions and sterilizations under China’s population control policy.
According to The Guardian, Chen has been offered fellowships by New York University and the University of Washington. It is thought that he will study law. China’s foreign ministry said it would accept his application to travel overseas, but the activist said he had yet to receive a response regarding his application.
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