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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More