The brother of a blind Chinese activist who triggered a diplomatic row between Beijing and Washington arrived in the capital Thursday after escaping his heavily guarded home, a rights lawyer said.
Chen Guangfu, the elder brother of Chen Guangcheng, fled his home village of Dongshigu in eastern China’s Shandong province under cover of darkness and travelled to Beijing, where he met a rights lawyer to discuss his son’s case.
His son is in police custody, charged with attempted murder over an attack on a local official who broke into the family home after discovering that Chen Guangcheng had escaped following nearly two years under illegal house arrest.
“He escaped from Dongshigu village in the middle of the night,” lawyer Ding Xikui said of Chen Guangfu, adding that the activist’s brother had also been effectively held under house arrest in the village.
“There were people monitoring him and controlling his movements. They were not allowing him to leave the village, he had been confined to the village,” Ding told AFP by telephone.
Ding refused to reveal how Chen Guangfu got away, but his daring flight appeared similar to his brother’s escape from Dongshigu to the US embassy in Beijing, where he remained under US protection for nearly a week.
Chen Guangcheng, a self-taught lawyer sentenced to over four years in prison after he exposed forced abortions and sterilisations under China’s “one child” policy, left China for the United States on Saturday with his wife and children.
Since his flight to the US embassy in late April his extended family has been effectively held under house arrest in the village.
Police in Shandong said on May 10 that Chen Kegui had been charged with murder, and he remains in custody there.
Lawyers appointed by his family have been barred from meeting him, and Shandong police say he has been given two government-appointed lawyers.
Ding refused to reveal where Chen Guangfu was in Beijing.
“I’m concerned about his safety,” Ding said, adding that Chen Guangfu feared that police from Shandong could come looking for him and arrest him even though he has not committed any crime.