Legal activist Chen Guangcheng has reportedly escaped his 18-month house arrest in the heavily guarded Shandong village of Dongshigu. From the Associated Press:
The campaigners said Friday that Chen Guangcheng slipped out of his usually well-guarded house in Shandong province this week. They are declining to say where Chen is, though activist He Peirong says he is no longer in Shandong ….
If confirmed, Chen’s freedom would boost a persecuted dissident community that has seen heavier repression in the last two years. Chen is a self-taught lawyer who served four years in prison for exposing forced abortions and sterilizations in his community.
Yaxue Cao managed to contact Chen’s nephew Chen Kegui by telephone and heard his account of last night’s events, including the detention of his father and his own attack on two guards with a pair of kitchen knives. From Seeing Red in China:
Early in the morning (April 26, Thursday), a lot of vehicles (not police vehicles, he said, at least not marked as police vehicles) and plaincloth guards descended on the village. His mother (Ren Zongju, 任宗举, CGC’s sister-in-law) overheard the guards saying on the phone that CGC disappeared and only [his wife, Yuan] Weijing was home. The villagers, including CGC’s relatives living in the village, had no idea what had happend.
Click through for audio recordings of the conversation, and check this post and @CDTimes on Twitter for updates.
Updated: Numerous sources report that Chen has entered the US embassy in Beijing. Activist Hu Jia is said to have verified this with an AP reporter, but an update to the AP report above gave no sign that such confirmation had been received, quoting He Peirong:
“I can tell you he’s not at the U.S. Embassy, and he’s not in Shandong. I did talk to the U.S.
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