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China Sentences Dissident’s Nephew to 39 Months in Prison

The Washington Post:

Chen Kegui, the nephew of blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, was sentenced Friday to 39 months in prison for injuring government agents who stormed into his home while searching for his uncle, who had fled house arrest.

Another activist and friend, Hu Jia, said on his Twitter account that Chen Kegui was found guilty and sentenced to 39 months in prison for the assault last April, which family members described as self-defense.

Hu, interviewed by telephone, said he spoke with a Chen relative allowed inside the courtroom in Linyi city, in eastern Shandong province.  The relative told him that Chen Kegui said he would not appeal, and that he would pay compensation to the official who was most badly injured in the melee.  Hu said he found Chen’s statements, if accurate, remarkable, and said they might indicate that Chen felt like “a hostage” to the local Shandong officials.

This fits a pattern of hardline decisions China has been making lately. The authorities are sending a message. And, like China’s tough stands on the boundary disputes with its neighbors, the decision to prosecute Chen’s nephew despite earlier commitments poses a challenge to the Obama administration, which played a central role in getting Chen out of China to New York.

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