The imprisoned nephew of exiled human rights activist Chen Guangcheng is suffering from appendicitis but being denied medical parole, his father said, in seemingly the latest punishment by authorities against the family.
The nephew, Chen Kegui, has been subjected to beatings and mistreatment since he fought with officials who stormed his house a year ago to look for Chen Guangcheng, who had escaped house arrest. Kegui was sentenced to three years in prison, and on the one monthly visit he's allowed, told his father, Chen Guangfu, last Thursday that he was in pain and had appendicitis, according to the Washington-based prisoner advocacy group Freedom Now.
Chen Guangfu said yesterday that that he tried to see his son again on Monday at Linyi prison but was rebuffed and told Kegui's application for medical parole was denied. Instead, Chen said, a prison medic told him that the appendicitis was being treated with antibiotics and that an infection had caused a cyst.
"They wouldn't allow me to see him," said Chen Guangfu.
Calls to the prison in Linyi , Shandong province, and to the prison hospital went unanswered yesterday, a holiday.
Chen Kegui's treatment is the most extreme retribution given to the family since Chen Guangcheng escaped first to the US Embassy in Beijing and later to the US. Local officials had kept Chen Guangcheng, who is blind, in prison or under house arrest in what had seemed a personal vendetta for his activism exposing forced abortions and other abusive enforcement of family planning policies in the rural communities around his home.
While he waited in Beijing to travel to the US last May, officials told Chen they would investigate the mistreatment of his family. But after a brief lull, the harassment resumed. It has seemed to intensify in recent weeks after Chen Guangcheng spoke to a US congressional panel about the mistreatment.
Security personnel are carrying out a nightly harassment campaign, the brothers said yesterday, throwing rocks, bottles and dead poultry at his house for 12 nights in a row.
The attacks on the village home of Chen Guangfu continued early on Tuesday, he said. Two cars parked outside his house, shining their headlights through the windows and again security personnel threw rocks and beer bottles at the house and into the yard, he said.
"China is a country of hoodlums, not a country of law," Chen Guangcheng said from New York, where he is studying law at New York University.
"If you have principles, if you do what is right, why are you afraid of people?" he said. "Why do these kinds of things happen in the middle of the night? What kind of person does this? Only thieves and the narrow-minded. But that's how the Communist Party is now."
Associated Press, Reuters