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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid