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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

World

China blind activist’s kin harassed
Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
Beijing, April 30, 2013
First Published: 18:14 IST(30/4/2013)
Last Updated: 00:48 IST(1/5/2013)

Blind activist Chen Guangcheng’s family members are being harassed by security personnel at their home in Shandong province, a US-based rights group has alleged.


It said the unidentified men threw rocks, poultry and beer bottles inside Chen’s brother, Chen Guangfu’s, home while two parked cars continued to shine headlights into the house early on Tuesday morning.

“The attackers shined the headlights of the vehicles into the home of Chen Guangfu to stage the attack, which was accompanied by sounds like explosives being set off.

Chen Guangfu, the eldest brother of Chen Guangcheng, called 110 to report the incident to the police only to discover that his cellphone, from which he had previously called 110, had been disabled.  When he used another phone to call 110, the person who answered at first tried to evade the issue and later simply refused to answer the phone,” US-based ChinaAid said in an emailed statement.

It was around a year ago that the blind activist, Chen, grabbed worldwide headlines after he dramatically escaped house arrest and took refuge in the US embassy in Beijing. Chen was known for his campaign against forced sterilisations and other citizens’ rights related campaigns.

The incident triggered a diplomatic row between the two countries that was only resolved after China allowed Chen to go abroad to study and an US university offered him a fellowship.

But according to rights groups and Chen’s family members who remained in China, security personnel continued to harass them.

The latest round of harassment began on about two weeks ago.

News agency Reuters quoted his brother as saying the attacks started on April 18, the same day his brother had been put on a village Communist Party of China (CPC) blacklist for his plans to visit Taiwan and, the party said, Tibet.

“They said he's planning to go to Taiwan to work on Taiwan independence, and to go to Tibet to support Tibet independence,” Chen was quoted as saying.

“They don't speak, they just do this," he said. "They throw things, put up little posters, they uproot my trees, pull out the vegetables my mother has been growing - these kinds of things to try to scare us,” he said.

Soon after Chen moved to the US last year, his nephew was arrested and charged with intentional homicide.

Chen Kegui was arrested for his allegd role in defending himself when authorities had raided his home in the Yinan county in the Shandong province in the aftermath of Chen’s dramatic escape.


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