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Chen Guangcheng

US slams China’s jailing of dissident’s nephew

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 December, 2012, 9:13am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 December, 2012, 9:13am

The United States on Friday blasted Chinese authorities for the jailing of the nephew of blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, saying he was the victim of a “deeply flawed legal process.”

After Chen -- who was jailed for years after exposing abuses under China’s “one child” population control policy -- fled house arrest in Shandong province in April, government officials and police descended on his home village.

The family says his nephew Chen Kegui used a kitchen knife to defend himself when authorities barged into his home in the middle of the night uninvited. Three people were wounded. He was jailed for more than three years Friday.

“We are deeply disturbed about reports that Chen Kegui, the nephew of human rights advocate Chen Guangcheng, was tried and convicted today in a legal proceeding in China that lacked basic due process guarantees,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

“He was convicted in a summary trial in which he was not fully represented by legal counsel of his choosing. He didn’t have an opportunity to present his own defence. So this was a deeply flawed legal process.”

Nuland said Chen Kegui’s parents had been refused visits with their sons, and that his court-appointed lawyer did not provide the family with any information about the case. Attorneys who tried to represent Chen Kegui were threatened with losing their licenses if they were to proceed, she said.

“All of these things represent very serious concerns with respect to the rule of law and China’s compliance with its commitments under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Nuland said.

“So we regret China’s failure to honour its international commitments, and we call on them to review this case.”

After being released from a four-year jail term in September 2010, Chen Guangcheng was placed under house arrest but fled from under the noses of plain-clothes police in April, taking refuge at the US embassy in Beijing.

Chinese and American diplomats scrambled to find a solution to defuse the row. After initially agreeing to stay in China, Chen decided he wanted to leave for the US, and Beijing eventually allowed him to leave.