News / Asia

Chinese Court Sentences Blind Activist's Nephew for Assault

Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng is seen in a video posted on YouTube on April 27, 2012 by the Chinese news website Boxun.com.Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng is seen in a video posted on YouTube on April 27, 2012 by the Chinese news website Boxun.com.
x
Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng is seen in a video posted on YouTube on April 27, 2012 by the Chinese news website Boxun.com.
Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng is seen in a video posted on YouTube on April 27, 2012 by the Chinese news website Boxun.com.
Zhu RuifengKate Woodsome
A court in eastern China has sentenced the nephew of rights activist Chen Guangcheng to prison, in a case the blind dissident says provides a discouraging look at the direction of China’s new leadership.

The Yinan County People's Court sentenced Chen Kegui Friday to three years and three months in prison for assaulting officials who stormed into his house looking for his uncle earlier this year. The incident followed Chen Guangcheng’s dramatic escape from house arrest in Shandong province.

The case is the latest chapter in a political drama that stirred tensions between Washington and Beijing and underscored China’s struggle with the rule of law.

Friday’s surprise trial and sentencing came six months after authorities detained Chen Kegui and held him incommunicado. Court officials initially charged him with murder for the incident in which he slashed and wounded three people with a kitchen knife, but relatives say that charge was downgraded because officials did not have enough evidence to prosecute it. Chen Kegui’s family says he acted in self-defense.

Court officials in Yinan were not available to comment on the case.

Hopes for reform dim

Chen Guangcheng told VOA his nephew’s sentencing dims his hopes for political and legal reform, just two weeks after the Communist Party named its next generation of leaders.

“Everybody has a high hope for the new leaders and we hope that they can do something. But right now, they have given us a very clear answer with their real act. They showed the whole world what kind of new leadership they are. By doing so, they have torn down their mask,” Chen Guangcheng said in a telephone interview Friday from New York.

The blind lawyer had spent 19 months under house arrest for exposing forced abortions and other wrongdoing by local officials, when he escaped to the U.S. Embassy in April. He moved to the United States to study in a deal worked out by U.S. and Chinese officials, in part to relieve diplomat tensions during a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
 
Chinese officials pledged at the time to investigate local authorities who kept Chen Guangcheng in extrajudicial detention after he’d already served prison time, and allegedly beat the activist and his family.

Sophie Richardson, the China director for Human Rights Watch, said those officials have failed to fulfill their promises.

"The man who was party secretary for Shandong when Chen Guangcheng was initially jailed has now been elevated to the Politburo Standing Committee,” she said. “So I think if you look at that particular individual's trajectory relative to Chen Guangcheng's case, as opposed to how these various legal proceedings have unfolded, these do not bode well for a predictable rule-based system inside China.”

Judging the justice system

Chen Kegui’s father, who learned of the trial just hours before it began, told VOA he did not believe the court’s announcement that his son would not appeal the verdict. Chen Guangfu said authorities “must have done some work” to force his son to accept his conviction.

Chen Guangcheng also speculated his nephew might have been tortured or, perhaps, had lost faith in the justice system.
 
Richardson said it is difficult to tell what is motivating Chen Kegui because his legal advisors were appointed by local officials.

“It's hard to know whether the people who were ostensibly representing Chen Kegui in court were actually acting in his best interest or in the interest of local officials, which is a problem that happens all the time in China,” she said.

Richardson added that the legal proceedings did not meet the minimum standards for a fair trial.

"To the extent this prosecution was a test of the rule of law in China, the rule of law lost,” she said.

China’s outgoing leaders have said cracking down on corruption and cleaning up the legal system are key priorities for the country, which they say will continue after they retire. The next set of leaders, who will serve for a decade, take office early next year.

Additional reporting by Sarah Williams.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
December 01, 2012 8:29 AM
so give his nephew visa and scholarship and allow him to come to US. everyone will happy right?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs