Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lawyers for China dissident's nephew say they face threats

Blind activist Chen Guangcheng (C) speaks with his wife Yuan Weijing (2nd R) and children as U.S. ambassador to China Gary Locke (facing camera, 3rd R) and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell (facing camera, 4th R) stands nearby in a Beijing hospital, in this handout picture from the U.S
(Reuters) - Chinese legal authorities have confiscated the license of one lawyer and threatened to do the same to another after they volunteered to defend Chen Kegui, the nephew of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng.

The moves come as Chen Guangcheng, whose escape last month sparked an international furor, said Chinese officials were "going crazy" with reprisals against his family in eastern Shandong province in revenge for his recent escape from house arrest.
Chen Guangcheng's escape caused embarrassment for China and led to a diplomatic crisis in U.S.-Sino relations.

The Chinese Communist Party has always been wary of lawyers, who officials suspect could challenge one-party rule through their advocacy of the rule of law. Authorities have frequently sought to prevent lawyers from taking up politically sensitive cases by suspending their licenses to practice law.

Chen Wuquan, a lawyer based in the southern province of Guangdong, told Reuters the Guangzhou Lawyers' Association had confiscated his license "temporarily" last week during a standard annual renewal of licenses. The lawyer Chen is not related to the Chen family from Shandong. Read More...


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