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When blind Chinese rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng initially made the decision to stay in China, many thought it would boost the effort for those responsible for his persecution to be brought to justice. Now that Chen and his family are looking to leave China, it raises the question - what will happen to these investigations?
The illegal house arrest that Chen and his family were placed under for 19 months was overseen by the Chinese regime's Political and Legislative Affairs Committee. Over the past week, we've seen that this operation extends outside local authorities in Chen's hometown in Shandong Province, and directly involves the central Committee This is headed by chief of security Zhou Yongkang.
Former professor Sun Wenguang from Shandong province believes that with Chen out of the country, Zhou and his subordinates will try to prevent any formal investigation.
[Sun Wenguang, Former Professor from Shandong University]:
"These people will try to use all sorts of methods to threaten, entice and cause rifts between Chen Guangcheng and his family. This is what Zhou Yongkang's people are good at. Once Chen is out of the country, the Communist regime is likely to quieten down the issue, and will not specifically investigate it. The regime doesn't even take on cases of people inside the country, let alone those who are in the United States."
Chen Guangcheng told Voice of America last week from Beijing's Chaoyang hospital that someone from the central authorities had visited him to find out about his persecution. He was told that an investigation would be carried out.
NTD Commentator Zhao Pei believes there are differing voices within the upper ranks of the Communist Party, and that an investigation may still be carried out to expose the PLAC.