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Brother of China dissident Chen returns home: lawyer

world Updated: May 27, 2012 14:29 IST

AFP
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The brother of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has returned to his village in eastern China after fleeing to Beijing to seek help for his son, who is in custody, a lawyer said Sunday.

Chen Guangfu, older brother of Chen Guangcheng, who triggered a diplomatic crisis between Beijing and Washington, was back in Dongshigu, Shandong province, from where he had escaped his guards to travel to the Chinese capital, rights lawyer Ding Xikui told AFP.

"I've received a message from a friend of the Chen brothers informing me that Chen Guangfu has returned to the village," Ding said by telephone.

He could not say whether Chen Guangfu had returned voluntarily or been forcibly sent home by the authorities.

Chen Guangfu had been kept under guard but escaped by night to Beijing to seek legal assistance for his adult son Chen Kegui, who has been in police custody since late April, charged with attempted murder over an attack on a local official who broke into the family home.

His escape recalled that of his brother, who despite his blindness last month managed to flee his home, where he had been under house arrest, and seek refuge at the US embassy in Beijing.

Chen Guangcheng, a self-taught lawyer who served a jail term after exposing abuses in China's "one-child" population policy, arrived in the United States earlier this month after weeks of high-level diplomatic sparring.

Human rights activists say the authorities have increased their repression against Chen Guangcheng's family, who have been effectively under house arrest in Dongshigu, and he has expressed fears for their safety.