The brother of blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng arrived in Beijing on Wednesday to petition the ruling Chinese Communist Party over promises it made to investigate attacks on the family in the wake of his brother's escape from house arrest.
Chen Guangfu traveled to the capital along with 12 petitioners making complaints about abuses under China's draconian "one-child" policy, a group to which Chen Guangcheng had previously offered legal advice and support.
"We arrived at the Central Inspection Unit at about noon and submitted our papers," Chen Guangfu said. "One was a request to make public the results of the investigation into the illegal victimization of Chen Guangcheng by officials."
"The other was an application for compensation by petitioners who have been forcibly evicted and their homes demolished," he said.
He said that while his brother was in Beijing last year following his flight from house arrest in Shandong's Dongshigu village, central government officials had promised the dissident an investigation into abuses by local authorities in the province, but that since then the same local officials had "intensified the persecution of Chen Guangcheng's family members."
"Now that more than a year has passed ... I want them to announce the results of their investigation."
The nephew of the two brothers, Chen Kegui, is currently in jail for causing injury to local officials in a raid on his home in the aftermath of Chen Guangcheng's flight from the town.
Chen Guangfu said after the anniversary of his brother's escape last month that government-sponsored thugs had hung dead chickens and ducks in his family's courtyard and put up posters defaming and threatening him and his family, while the Chen brothers' mother has said that life in Dongshigu is "like living in a prison."
Chen Guangcheng speaks alongside his wife after receiving a U.S. award on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 29, 2013. Photo credit: AFP.
Since moving to the U.S. last year amid a deal negotiated between Washington and Beijing after he sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy, Chen Guangcheng has hit out against a persistent campaign of harassment against relatives in his hometown and accused Beijing officials of breaking their promises to investigate the issue.Abuses by local officials
Xu Dali, a petitioner who traveled to Beijing alongside Chen Guangfu, said she was pursuing a complaint over the suspicious death of her brother, who she said was killed by a group of government-backed thugs in a car amid a dispute over an "excess birth" in the family.
"We have been locked up, detained, kidnapped and buried alive, because we have pursued this petition," Xu said.
"We have told a number of departments about this, but our local officials took me and my mother, covered our heads with cloth and shoved us in a deep hole and buried us both alive," she said.
"We were only saved because a bunch of people started to use the area as a toilet, and they shone a flashlight and ran away [to get help]," she added.Dissident lawyer
Chen Guangcheng, a self-taught lawyer who exposed forced abortions under the country's one-child policy and defended the rights of ordinary people, has been living and studying law in New York since arriving in the U.S. in May 2012, after a diplomatic standoff between Washington and Beijing.
After 18 months of house arrest in Shandong's Dongshigu village, Chen Guangcheng outwitted his guards and made his way to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, where Chinese and American officials eventually struck a deal allowing him and his family to go to New York to study.
The blind activist has said that he and his family experienced illegal detention and brutal beatings while under house arrest and that Beijing had promised him it would dismiss officials responsible for the mistreatment.
"It has been more than a year already, and ... officials in Shandong are continuing to break the law and stepping up their persecution of [our] family members," Chen Guangfu said.
"I would like them to make public the results of their investigation, so I have made a freedom of information request," he said.
After spending just over a year as a special student at the U.S.-Asia Law Institute of New York University (NYU), Chen recently said he was asked to leave following political pressure on the university from Beijing.
Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service and by Wen Yuqing for the Cantonese Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.