Chen Kegui is the nephew of renowned Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng and was sentenced to three years and three months in prison on charges of “intentionally inflicting injuries.” It is widely understood that the Chinese government arrested and imprisoned him in retaliation for his uncle’s criticism of the government.
In April 2012, Chen Guangcheng escaped from illegal house arrest—which followed four years in prison because of his legal advocacy—and fled to the US Embassy in Beijing. In the early morning hours of April 27, 2012 and shortly after news of the escape surfaced, local party officials, uniformed police, and government thugs stormed the home where Chen Kegui lived with his parents. His father, Chen Gugangfu, was hooded and taken without a warrant to a local investigation facility where he was beaten and interrogated about Chen Guangcheng’s escape. The intruders returned armed with wooden clubs and beat Chen Kegui, one yelling, “kill him, kill him.” Chen Kegui tried to defend himself with a kitchen knife, injuring three of his attackers. The intruders left the home and Chen Kegui fled to seek medical treatment, but the intruders returned a third time and severely beat his mother, Ren Zongju.
Authorities disappeared Chen Kegui sometime after he left his home and held him incommunicado until formally arresting him in early May 2012. On November 30, 2012, in what the US State Department called a “deeply flawed legal process,” Chen Kegui was sentenced to three years and three months in prison after a trial that lasted only hours. During the trial, Chen Kegui was denied access to the family’s chosen lawyers and did not have the opportunity to present a defense. His family was notified only hours before the trial began and were not permitted to attend the hearing.
International observers believe that the Chinese government’s harassment of Chen Guangcheng’s family—including Chen Kegui’s arrest—is part of the government’s pattern of unlawfully persecuting rights lawyers and their families. The Chen family continues to face harassment and intimidation.
His father reports that Chen Kegui has been subjected to torture while in detention, including severe beatings and sleep and food deprivation. Chen Kegui told his father that authorities threatened him with life in prison if he files an appeal or does not cooperate with authorities.
Freedom Now filed a petition in September 2013 with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Chen Kegui.
Freedom Now mobilized international pressure for Chen Kegui’s freedom by publishing op-eds in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, preparing a report to the UN Human Rights Council prior to China’s universal periodic review, and an urgent appeal to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.
Eight members of the U.S. Congress called for Chen Kegui’s release in May 2013.
On July 29, 2015, Chen Keguiwas released from prison. He still suffers from medical conditions, including stomach pains, but is unable to seek treatment from a local hospital because the Chinese government has not issued him a correct residency permit.
Donate Today and Help Free a Prisoner of Conscience
Can you imagine a doctor being imprisoned just for treating a patient, or a journalist detained simply for publishing an article critical of his government?