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Fear Casts Long Shadows in Chen Guangcheng's Hometown

6 years ago19 views

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On the surface, things appear to be better for residents of Shandong's Dongshigu village. This is the hometown of blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, and the site of his house arrest. For over a year-and-a-half, dozens of guards and surveillance cameras filled this village.

Security has lessened since then, and Chen and his family are now in the United States. But Chen's brother, Chen Guangfu, says the effects of intimidation and suspicion still echo in the village.

[Chen Guangfu, Activist Chen Guangcheng's Brother]:
"It will take a very long time for the shadow cast by this case to disappear because the villagers are scared to their bones. [The officials] clearly told villagers and kept telling them that Guangcheng was a traitor. So whoever was helping Guangcheng will also be seen as a traitor."

Chen Guangfu is worried about the fate of his son, Chen Kegui. The 32-year-old is detained on a charge of "intentional homicide." But Chen Guangfu says his son acted in self-defence when local officials barged into their home after discovering Chen's escape.

[Chen Guangfu, Activist Chen Guangcheng's Brother]:
"I feel that they are just using Kegui as a kind of pawn to restrict Guangcheng. In their words, they want Guangcheng to be more low-profile, and that in a way, would help Kegui's case. From this aspect, this is no longer a simple criminal case, but a political case."

Chen Guangfu showed reporters how his brother escaped. He ran up the stairs bordering the wall of his courtyard and scaled several walls, including one that was 13 feet high.

During Chen's house arrest, plain-clothed guards blocked dozens of Chen's supporters, including "Batman" star Christian Bale, from visiting him. Many were beaten for their efforts.

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