Police searching for an escaped blind activist in China last night arrested his nephew at his house, a rights group said today.
Doriane Lau of the Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Concern Group said Zhang Jian, vice party secretary of Shuanghou county, and several people armed with sticks, barged into the home of Chen Guangcheng.
Chen and his family have been under house arrest for more than 18 months. Only his elderly mother can leave home to buy daily necessities.
On hearing his grandmother’s cries for help, Chen Kegui, nephew of the activist, went to her aid with two kitchen knives and allegedly injured Zhang and others in self defence, said Lau.
“Chen Kegui called the police himself. His whereabouts are unknown since he was taken away by dozens of police,” she said.
She said: “Chen Kegui had the right to defend himself as Zhang did not provide any legal document to enter private property and he even beat people up, which was a criminal act.”
Lau said police were angry as a result of the discovery of Chen’s disappearance from his house arrest despite their tight surveillance.
“We are very concerned about the safety of Chen Kegui and Chen’s family, and concerned that he may not get legal aid for a fair trial,” she said.
Another mainland activist He Peirong, told Concern group today that Chen Guangcheng was taken to a safe place away from Shangdong but gave no details.
Information posted on the US-based China Aid said that He Peirong was also taken away before noon.
Chen, a self-taught lawyer, helped women who were allegedly forced to undergo abortions in Linyi, his home district of Shangdong province in eastern China.
His efforts were said to have embarrassed local officials and to have prompted revenge and physical abuses. He was a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.