China dissident brands nephew's conviction 'revenge'

Chinese blind activist Chen Guangcheng said in a video released Sunday that a three-year jail sentence handed to his nephew was "revenge" for his dramatic escape to the US embassy earlier this year.

Chen, who was imprisoned after exposing abuses under China's "one child" population control policy, caused a diplomatic row when he escaped house arrest in his village in Shandong province and reached the US mission in Beijing.

As he was freed to leave for the United States, government officials and police descended on his village home, prompting his nephew Chen Kegui to attack them with a kitchen knife, wounding three people.

A Chinese court on Friday sentenced him to more than three years in jail.

"Because I fled the country... the government officials have enacted revenge on my nephew Chen Kegui," Chen said in a video released by the US-based advocacy group China Aid.

"Chen Kegui tried to defend our family, but he was arrested and is still in jail today," Chen said, adding that "the corrupt officials who ordered his arrest... got promoted."

Chen Kegui's trial drew strong criticism from rights groups as his family members were informed about the trial just hours before it began and he was not allowed to choose his own defense lawyer.

The United States also blasted the Chinese authorities for his jailing, saying he was the victim of a "deeply flawed legal process."

Chen Guangcheng said Chinese officials had not kept their promise to investigate years of abuse suffered by his family at the hands of local officials.

"The Chinese government made a promise to me... to have a through investigation of those persecuting me and my family... and to make the decisions public, yet they have not kept their word," he said.

One of China's best-known activists, Chen plaudits for investigating rights abuses including forced sterilizations and late-term abortions under China's "one-child" family planning policy.

After being released from a four-year jail term in September 2010, Chen was put under house arrest in Shandong but fled to the US embassy in Beijing from under the noses of plain-clothes police on April 22.

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

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