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Chen's brother back home from Beijing

Safety concerns for Chen and his family

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Story highlights

  • Chen Guangfu wants Beijing lawyers to represent his son
  • The father said he heard his son was beaten up
  • The son's uncle is activist Cheng Guangcheng, now in the U.S.

The brother of Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng said he's worried about his incarcerated son and has met with attorneys in Beijing to get legal advice for him.

Chen Guangfu told CNN Saturday that he's back home in Shandong province village of Dongshigu after meeting with Beijing lawyers in the case of his son Chen Kegui. The son was arrested and accused of murder this month shortly after his activist-uncle, Chen Guangcheng, escaped from their village.

Chen Guangcheng's arrival in the United States last week brought an end to a diplomatic firestorm between Beijing and Washington that erupted after he escaped from house arrest in Shandong province and took to YouTube to air the abuses he said his family suffered at the hands of authorities.

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The activist and his wife and children have traveled to the United States for Chen Guangcheng to study at New York University, but activists remain concerned that extended family such as his brother and nephew remain vulnerable to further crackdowns.

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The son surrendered to police and was formally arrested on May 9, Chen Guangfu said. The family hasn't been allowed to see Chen Kegui in custody, and authorities have maintained heavy security around the family's village. Chen Guangfu said people have said his son was beaten.

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It's unclear what the next step is in the case, but Cheng Guangfu said he hopes his son will be represented by his Beijing lawyers and not government-appointed ones in Shandong.

Ding Xikui, Chen Guangfu's lawyer, told CNN Thursday in a phone interview he met with Cheng Guangfu to discuss the case of his son.

Ding said Chen Guangfu told him during his visit Thursday that he escaped in the middle of the night. Ding said Chen Kegui's wife had authorized him and another lawyer to defend Chen Kegui's case but was told by local officials that government lawyers had been appointed to represent him.

Chen Guangfu told CNN he left Bejjing voluntarily on Friday night and arrived in Dongshigu safely.

The village has been heavily guarded since Chen Guangcheng's escape last month, according to another lawyer, Jiang Tianyong, who spoke to Chen Guangfu briefly on the phone Thursday.

Chen Guangcheng was sentenced in 2006 to four years and three months in prison for "damaging property and organizing a mob to disturb traffic," charges that his supporters say were trumped up by authorities to punish his legal advocacy for victims of what he called abusive family planning policies, including forced abortions and sterilization.

The self-taught legal activist was then held under constant lockdown in his village.

In an April video after his escape, Chen addressed the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, detailing alleged abuses during the family's 18 months of heavily guarded home detention.

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