BEIJING - Blind Chinese rights activist Chen Guangcheng said on Sunday that a nephew, arrested on charges of attempted murder, was the victim of vengeance by officials incensed at Chen's escape, which cast a global spotlight on his 19 months in house arrest.
Chen confirmed reports that his nephew Chen Kegui was arrested on charges of attempted homicide over a confrontation that erupted after officials in their home village found Chen Guangcheng had escaped, defeating a seemingly impenetrable barrier of guards, video surveillance and walls.
His escape last month humiliated China's domestic security forces and led to a standoff with Washington after Chen sought protection for six days in the US embassy in Beijing.
Chen, who is now receiving treatment in a Beijing hospital and preparing to go to the United States to study, said his nephew was a scapegoat of officials angered by Chen's audacious escape and demands that they be investigated. Asked why police in his home province of Shandong in east China would arrest his nephew, Chen said, "Revenge."