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Chinese Activist Chen Guangcheng: 'Thugs' Beat Nephew

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Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has expressed concern for his nephew Chen Kegui, telling Voice of America that "thugs with wooden sticks" went to his house and beat him.

Speaking to VOA Monday, he called for the media and public to take note of his nephew's situation, calling it an "extremely unjust case."

The town chief and other officials reportedly went to Chen Kegui's house in Shandong on April 27 to look for Chen Guangcheng, who had fled house arrest.

Chen Guangcheng said his nephew and others were beaten "ruthlessly" and that Chen Kegui fought back to defend himself, as is allowed under Chinese law. The nephew reportedly was detained.

Yinan County Detention Center’s deputy political commissioner, Li Zhongsheng, told VOA he had not heard anything about the case.

Chen Guangcheng was given a four-year prison sentence in 2006 for exposing abuses under China's forced abortion policy aimed at population control. He had been under house arrest since 2010, before fleeing on April 22 to the U.S. embassy, where he remained for several days.

The self-taught legal activist agreed to depart the embassy under a deal reached by U.S. and Chinese authorities that would have allowed him to stay in a safe place in China and study law. But he changed his mind hours after leaving the embassy, saying his family had been threatened, and said he had decided to go to the United States.

China said Monday the United States should "take necessary measures" to prevent a repeat of events like the case of Chen Guangcheng.

The activist, who has been blind since childhood, is at a Beijing hospital recovering from injuries sustained in his escape two weeks ago.

Article by Lisa Ferdinando, VOA News