Nephew of Blind Chinese Activist Sentenced to Prison

Posted November 30th, 2012 at 7:35 am (UTC-5)
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The nephew of blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng has been sentenced to more than three years in prison in a case seen by rights groups as retaliation for Chen's escape from house arrest earlier this year.

The Yinan County People's Court convicted Chen Kegui Friday of assaulting officials earlier this year who stormed into his house looking for his uncle. Earlier, the defendant had been charged with murder, but his family says charges were downgraded because officials did not have enough evidence to prosecute. In a half-day trial, the defendant was sentenced to three years and three months imprisonment.

Chen Guangcheng had been under 19 months of house arrest in eastern Shandong province for exposing forced abortions and other wrongdoing by local officials. In April he escaped and fled to the U.S. Embassy, setting off a diplomatic dispute between Beijing and Washington. He was eventually allowed to go to the U.S. to study. The blind lawyer is now living in New York City.