Chen Guangcheng’s Nephew Charged With Homicide, May Face Execution

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 11, 2012   |   4:26PM   |   Beijing, China

The nephew of forced abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng has been formally arrested and charged with “intentional homicide” for his role in defending himself from guards and officials who stormed his home in the aftermath of Chen’s escape from house arrest.

The crime, which carries the death sentence, is the latest in the international situation involving Chen, who is seeking the ability to go the United States to escape persecution in China after he exposed a massive campaign of forced abortions and sterilizations in his hometown of Linyi.

The formal arrest of Chen’s nephew Chen Kegui took place on Wednesday, according to officials with ChinaAid, a human rights group that has been actively working with Chen and assisting him and his family and supporters. The formal arrest notification with the charge of “intentional homicide” was delivered to Chen Kegui’s mother, Ren Zongju, yesterday. They were executed by the Yinan County People’s Procuratorate and the Yinan Public Security Bureau.

ChinaAid provides additional details:

According to one of Chen Kegui’s lawyers, Liu Weiguo, who himself has been put under house arrest after taking up Chen Kegui’s case, the charge stems from a government raid on the home of Chen Guangcheng’s brother, Chen Guangfu, on the night of April 26, after local authorities discovered that Chen Guangcheng had escaped from 19 months of extrajudicial house arrest.

At about 11:30 on April 26, about two dozen Yinan county officials and hired thugs broke into Chen Guangfu’s home. None of the government officials showed any IDs. The raid lasted through the night and did not end until nearly dawn on April 27.

Chen Guangfu’s son, Chen Kegui, was awakened by the noise of his parents being beaten up.  He grabbed a knife and walked out of his room, and was immediately attacked and beaten up as well. In self-defense, he wounded three of his attackers, all of whom were government officials. He is now being held in the Yinan county detention center.

At least one lawyer who tried to approach Chen’s village on Thursday May 10 seeking to meet with Chen Kegui’s parents was kidnapped by local authorities.

“We are appalled by the immediate vengeance of the local authorities, who are acting in this way to retaliate against Chen Guancheng,” said ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu.

In a Friday May 11 phone conversation with Fu, Chen Guangcheng said, “I appeal to the central government to take honest and credible concrete measures to stop these illegal and barbaric actions of the Shandong authorities against my family members, including my nephew Chen Kegui, my brother Chen Guangfu and my sister-in-law Ren Zongju. There is no doubt that the Shandong authorities are acting out of revenge because of my escape from my house.”

He called the charges “illegal and barbaric.”

Fu said, “Chen Kegui cannot get a fair trial. The local government will make him pay for their incompetence in letting Chen Guangcheng escape. This is a test of the rule of law and the government’s promise to investigate corrupt and brutal local officials. ChinaAid calls on the international community, and especially the U.S. government to speak up on behalf of Chen’s family members who are being persecuted solely for their relationship with Chen Guangcheng.”