SHADONG, CHINA, May 8, 2012, ( – Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng remains safely, if ambiguously, in limbo, but he said his family has been subjected to vicious beatings.

The blind lawyer, who exposed China’s brutal forced abortion policy, said “thugs with wooden spoons” beat his nephew, Chen Kegui, “ruthlessly.”

From his hospital bed, Chen told the Voice of America on Monday that the beat-down happened on April 27 after the town police chief and other Chinese officials questioned his nephew about his uncle’s whereabouts. He called the development an “extremely unjust situation.” 


Government officials are blocking the escaped activist’s ability to meet with U.S. officials, something the Obama administration promised would not occur if he left the U.S. Embassy last week.

American dignitaries “cannot come in and see me, they have not been able to come in one time,” Chen told international media early Tuesday morning.

“My friends can’t come and visit,” he said. “I haven’t seen one friend since I’ve been here.”

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While Chinese officials have told him they would help him complete the forms needed to obtain a passport and enter the United States on a student visa, “I don’t know if they are actually doing that,” Chen said.

He hoped they would “fully implement their commitments they made to me concerning my rights as a citizen and my personal freedom.”

Chen is currently in a Chinese hospital with his wife and two children.

The young woman who helped him escape, He Peirong, has been released largely through media exposure of the Chinese government’s repressive crackdown.

“I was very concerned [about my safety], but once the thing went public, I was no longer worried,” she said. 

Americans, too, had an interest in keeping the case under wraps, according to Congressman Chris Smith. The New Jersey Republican told in an exclusive interview last Friday that the U.S. Embassy had kept him from communicating with Chen. “I was told he wanted to talk to me. So I placed a call, [and] it never got through,” he said. “I left a message with the right people as to why I was calling, never got to talk to him. And he said other people had tried to get to him.”

Chen departed the U.S. Embassy as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived for a summit with Beijing authorities. She made no mention of Chen in her public remarks, instead announcing a number of “eco-partnerships,” including China’s enrollment in the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. The environmental emphasis signals a shift in priorities away from human rights or international trade under previous administrations. “We have put climate at the top of our diplomatic agenda,”  Barack Obama announced at the Climate Change Summit in 2009.

Meanwhile, China advised the United States to “take necessary measures” to prevent similar escapes in the future.


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