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May 09, 2013

Brother of Blind Chinese Activist Says He Was Beaten

by VOA News

The brother of exiled Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng says he was beaten by government-hired thugs, in the latest case of alleged retribution against the rights activist's family.

Chen Guangfu says two unidentified men jumped out of a car and beat him for several minutes as he was headed home in the eastern province of Shandong on Thursday. He was not seriously injured in the attack.

The 56-year-old is the older brother of blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, who made global headlines last year after escaping house arrest and fleeing to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

The activist, who is now in the U.S., says Beijing has carried out a revenge campaign against his family in retaliation for the high-profile escape and his activism against forced abortions in China.

Meanwhile, there are new signs China is widening a crackdown against those calling for greater government transparency.

A lawyer for Liu Ping, who led a campaign pushing for government officials to publicly disclose their wealth, says the activist was detained last month on suspicion of "inciting subversion."

There has not been any public statement on the subversion charges, an accusation often made against government critics.

Separately, Beijing police have reportedly detained 10 other anti-corruption activists. A lawyer for some of those detained told the French news agency that police charged the activists with "unlawful assembly" after they displayed a banner calling for greater government transparency.

Rights groups say the moves call into question the stated commitment of China's new leader Xi Jinping to crack down on rampant government corruption.

Many had also hoped the new Communist government led by Mr. Xi, which took power last year, would make political and legal reforms.