The Chinese government is denying urgent medical care to Chen Kegui, the jailed nephew of blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng who has been suffering from acute appendicitis since April 24. Kegui’s father says in a New York Times piece that the family is “very worried for [Kegui’s] survival.”
Chinese officials violently barged into Kegui’s home and attacked his parents after learning that Guangcheng had escaped his house arrest and sought protection from the American embassy in Beijing. They convicted Kegui of “intentional injury” last November for defending his family from the attacks. Kegui’s conviction which led him a 39-month prison term is part of a large effort by Chinese officials to silence Guangcheng from raising human rights issues in China.
Guangcheng, who is now safe in New York after he sought help from American diplomats in Beijing, reported increased threats to his family in China since arriving in New York last year.
When we honored Guangcheng with our Human Rights First award last October, he used this platform to speak out against abuses in China–including threats to his family–and called for the United States to take action.
Since then, we’ve reported that Kegui has been tortured while in detention and that Chinese officials threatened to harm Kegui’s kindergarten-aged child. Last week, Chinese prosecutors have threatened Kegui’s sister-in-law Ren Zongju, and a brother, Chen Guangjun, with criminal charges. Now, Kegui is being denied urgent medical care.
Human Rights First has been urging Secretary John Kerry to take immediate action on these reports and prevent further intimidation or harm to Chen Guangcheng’s family.