A Beijing law lecturer and a lawyer paying a social visit to a blind activist under house arrest in Shandong were escorted back to the capital after being beaten by thugs on Tuesday and interrogated until early yesterday. But Xu Zhiyong, 32, from the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, and Li Fangping , 30, a lawyer in a private practice, said they would not be deterred by the attack, which came as they attempted to visit Chen Guangcheng , an opponent of violent, government-backed birth-control measures in Linyi city . 'It was a government-planned action, but the barbarous act will not intimidate us,' Mr Xu said from Beijing yesterday. Mr Li, who suffered bruises to his neck and shoulders, said the attack was aimed at scaring people coming to the village and isolating Mr Chen, whose house had been heavily guarded for a month. 'They want to sever Mr Chen from all outside communications,' he said, adding that the blind activist's telephone connections had been tampered with. 'But if we are scared off, these crimes will continue.' On Tuesday morning, the pair - along with dozens of villagers - arrived outside Mr Chen's home but were denied access. Mr Chen hurried from his house and suffered injuries to his mouth and legs when he clashed with guards. He met the pair for a minute before being pushed back into his house. Mr Xu and Mr Li were invited to lunch on Tuesday by county officials. They told the officials Mr Chen would 'talk less' about local abuses if he was released, but they refused to listen. A few hours later, when the pair were on the way back to Mr Chen's home, they were attacked by up to 30 thugs. The men tried to report the assault to nearby policemen, who turned their backs on them. Mr Xu and Mr Li were kicked and pushed into a gutter before police arrived and took them - but not the attackers - to a police station, where they were accused of 'attacking people'. They were interrogated until 3am and escorted back to Beijing by three county policemen yesterday afternoon, after they again tried to visit Mr Chen in the morning. Mr Chen, who has helped several villagers fighting forced abortion and sterilisation take their cases to court, was 'kidnapped' by Shandong police in Beijing last month and put under house arrest. Linyi city made international headlines in July when Mr Chen helped Washington Post journalists report on the local birth-control programme. Last month, National Population and Family Planning Commission spokesman Yu Xuejun told Xinhua it would investigate the 'reported illegal family planning practices' in Shandong.