In April, when legal activist Chen Guangcheng escaped from house arrest in Linyi, Shandong and made his way to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, security officers assigned with guarding him burst into his brother’s house upon discovering Chen had escaped. Chen’s nephew, Chen Kegui, responded by lashing at the officers with a kitchen knife. Even though no one died in the attack, Chen Kegui was initially charged with attempted murder. Chen Guangcheng, who is now studying law in New York, has told reporters that his nephew’s case has been sent to the local prosecutor and that he has no hope of a fair trial. The charges against him have been downgraded to “intentional infliction of injury.” From Reuters:
Chen [Kegui] has been held incommunicado by police for over five months and has been denied access to his choice of lawyers. His case is widely seen as illegitimate by Chen’s family and human rights advocates.
Chen Guangcheng’s escape from house arrest in northeastern China in April and subsequent refuge in the U.S. embassy caused huge embarrassment for China, and led to a serious diplomatic rift between the two superpowers.
Chen Kegui was initially charged with “intentional homicide” for using knives to fend off local officials who burst into his home on April 27, the day after they discovered his uncle had escaped.
Chen Guangcheng told Reuters he believed the police downgraded the charge because they had no evidence to build a case of “intentional homicide” against his nephew.