BEIJING (AP) — The imprisoned nephew of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng is suffering from appendicitis but being denied medical parole, his father said Tuesday, in seemingly the latest punishment exacted by authorities against the family.
The nephew, Chen Kegui, has been subjected to beatings and mistreatment since he fought with officials who stormed his house a year ago to look for Chen Guangcheng, who had escaped house arrest. Kegui was sentenced to three years in prison, and on the one monthly prison visit he's allowed, Kegui told his father, Chen Guangfu, last Thursday he was in pain and had appendicitis, according to the Washington-based prisoner advocacy group Freedom Now.
Chen Guangfu said Tuesday that he tried to see his son again on Monday at Linyi prison but was rebuffed and told Kegui's application for medical parole was denied. Instead, Chen said, a prison medic told him that the appendicitis was being treated with antibiotics and that an infection had caused a cyst.
"They wouldn't allow me to see him," said Chen Guangfu.
Calls to the prison in Linyi, in eastern China, and to the prison hospital rang unanswered Tuesday, a holiday.
Chen Kegui's treatment is the most extreme retribution given to the family since the escape of Chen Guangcheng that took him to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and eventually to the U.S. Local officials had kept Chen Guangcheng, who is blind, in prison or under house arrest in what had seemed a personal vendetta for his activism exposing forced abortions and other abusive enforcement of family planning limits in the rural communities around his home.
While he waited in Beijing to travel to the U.S. last May, officials told Chen they would investigate the mistreatment of his family. But after a brief lull, the harassment resumed. It has seemed to intensify in recent weeks after Chen Guangcheng spoke to a U.S. congressional panel about the mistreatment.
Unidentified people hurled bricks and bottles at Chen Guangfu's home early Tuesday, the U.S.-based monitoring and lobbying group China Aid Association reported. Earlier in April, dead chickens were thrown into the house's courtyard, and posters went up in their village of Dongshigu calling the family traitors.