Blind activist: China says it'll investigate abuse

By Gillian Wong

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, May 8 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Chen said in his talks with the visiting official that he also conveyed his wish that the guards stationed in his home and village by the local authorities be removed. He also asked the official to help with the paperwork for his and his family's travel documents, and Chen said the official promised to handle it.

Chen and his supporters have tried to draw attention to his mistreatment for years. After Chen escaped from arrest in his rural home in Shandong province on April 22, he stayed in hiding in Beijing for several days during which he recorded a detailed video account of the abuse and his tormentors.

In the video, Chen named Zhang Jian, deputy party secretary in charge of politics and law of the township that oversees Chen's village, as well as five other officials from several different departments, as being among his persecutors.

"More than a dozen men broke into my house to beat up my wife. They pushed my wife down on the floor, covered her with a quilt, and beat and kicked her for several hours," he said in one example.

In the video, Chen appealed to Premier Wen Jiabao to punish authorities in the city of Linyi, saying that they sent 70 to 80 officials from county police, the local branch of the Communist Party and administrative agencies to his home "to loot and beat and harm us."

He urged the premier to act in part to make clear whether the violations were the acts of local officials or ordered by the central government.

Chen has told U.S. Embassy officials and his lawyer, Li Jinsong, about the visits from the official. American officials have previously said that Chinese government staffers had begun talking to Chen about his mistreatment by officials in his home province, but had no further comment on Tuesday.

Li welcomed the government's inquiry but said it would take time.

"Justice is often late, but it will not be absent," Li told the AP.

Associated Press writer Didi Tang contributed to this report.

Follow Gillian Wong on Twitter at http://twitter.com/gillianwong

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