Blind China activist's nephew languishing in jail

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Associated Press

Posted on January 3, 2014 at 1:34 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 3 at 2:33 AM

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities have refused to accept a family application seeking medical parole for the imprisoned nephew of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, the nephew's mother said Friday.

The nephew's plight showed the difficult conditions Chen's family continue to face nearly two years after Chen made a bold escape from house arrest and eventually made his way to the United States. Chen, a blind, self-taught lawyer known for his activism against forced abortions, was able to leave China after high-level negotiations between U.S. and Chinese officials.

Chen's nephew Chen Kegui, 34, however, has been languishing in a prison in east China's Shandong province and is suffering from serious stomach pains, said his mother, Ren Zongju. She said she visited her son at the jail on Monday.

"He pressed a hand against his stomach, complaining of a stomachache and sweating on his face," Ren said in a phone interview.

In late 2012, local authorities sentenced Chen Kegui to three years and three months in jail after he fought with local officials storming his house in the wake of his uncle's escape. The family says Chen acted in self-defense. Chen Guangcheng, who still lives in the United States, has repeatedly called for his nephew to be treated fairly.

Ren said her son has been suffering from headaches and vertigo since he was hit hard in the head during the confrontation with officials. Last year, Chen suffered from appendicitis but also was denied medical parole.

Ren said she submitted an application for her son to be released to seek medical treatment but the jail did not accept it. She said a prison doctor concluded after a medical checkup that Chen had no ailment.

A woman who answered the phone at the Shandong jail said she did not know anything about the case before hanging up without providing her name.

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