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Chinese police crack down on blind dissident Chen Guangcheng's family

Beijing, Sun, 29 Apr 2012 ANI

Beijing, Apr 29 (ANI): The Chinese police have cracked down on the family of escaped blind dissident Chen Guangcheng.

Police have detained four members of Chen's family and two persons who helped him to escape.

The US has declined to comment on Chen's whereabouts, but his friends have said that he is in the U.S. Embassy, although he had told them he did not wish to seek asylum, The Guardian said.

In a video appeal to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Chen said that he feared "insane retribution" against his family, who stayed in Dongshigu village in the eastern Shandong Province.he issue threatens to overshadow the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for bilateral talks in Beijing next week.

Tensions between Beijing and Washington have grown over Chen's escape.

The condition of his wife, mother and six-year-old daughter, who were also under house arrest, is unknown.

But the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) network has said that they are already in custody.

"We're very concerned that authorities appear to have launched a round of retaliation against Chen's family, relatives and activists who assisted Chen Guangcheng's flight for freedom," said Renee Xia, international director of the CHRD.

Chen, a self-taught legal activist, was arrested for exposing a mass campaign of forced sterilisations and abortions in his area.

He was jailed for four years and put under house arrest following his release in September 2010. (ANI)


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