3-13-2013By Marc Jayson Climaco
Human Rights First
Although blind human rights advocate and Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng is now safe in New York, he continues to fear for his family in China—especially his nephew Chen Kegui. Now, Chinese officials have threatened to harm Kegui’s pre-school-aged child.
Chinese officials violently barged into Kegui’s home and attacked his parents last May after learning that Guangcheng had escaped his house arrest and sought protection from the American embassy in Beijing. They convicted Kegui of “intentional injury” last November for defending his family from the attacks. Now, he is serving a 39-month jail sentence.
Kegui’s father Chen Guangfu visited Kegui on February 28 and found that he suffered from torture including severe beatings and sleep and food deprivation. Kegui told his father that he continues to receive threats from officials. They told him that if he files for an appeal or does not cooperate with the authorities, his family—including his child—will be harmed.
Guangfu, who is now the official guardian of Kegui’s son, received an alarming call from the child’s school director following a visit from unidentified government officials. They were looking for the child, though they did not let the director know the reason why. The school director was quite upset and worried, but fortunately, the child was not on school premises at the time.
This incident shows that authorities are following through with their threat. The whole family is deeply concerned and distraught by this unsettling news.
Human Rights First honored Chen Guangcheng with our Human Rights First award last October for his work fighting for the rule of law in China. In his speech, he raised his family’s safety and urged the U.S. government to take action. Listen to Chen’s appeal here.
Urge Secretary of State John Kerry to take immediate action on these reports and prevent further intimidation or harm to Chen Guangcheng’s family.