Authorities Sentence Chen Kegui in Trial Marred by Procedural Violations

December 7, 2012

On November 30, 2012, the Yinan County People's Court in Linyi city, Shandong province, tried and sentenced Chen Kegui, nephew of prominent legal advocate Chen Guangcheng, to three years and three months in prison for "intentional injury." Chen Kegui wielded knives against local officials in April 2012 when they broke into his home after discovering Chen Guangcheng had escaped from illegal home confinement. According to supporters, Chen Kegui's case has been marred by procedural violations since authorities detained him in May.

The Yinan County People's Court in Linyi city, Shandong province, sentenced Chen Kegui to three years and three months in prison on November 30 for "intentional injury" (a crime under Article 234 of the PRC Criminal Law), according to a November 30 Associated Press (AP) report (via Google). The charges against Chen are in connection to his clash with officials when they invaded his home after discovering that his uncle, prominent legal advocate Chen Guangcheng, had escaped illegal home confinement (Washington Post (WP), 30 November 12). Chen Kegui reportedly wielded knives in self-defense after officials beat him and his parents in the altercation (AP, via Google, 30 November 12). Article 20 of the Criminal Law protects persons who cause injury while acting in due "defense against an ongoing assault ... or other crime of violence that seriously endangers his personal safety" from bearing criminal responsibility. On May 20, 2012, Financial Times reported that Chen Kegui's wife Liu Fang was "on the run," and that authorities were demanding to know her whereabouts. In July 2012, she issued a joint statement (via Human Rights in China) with Chen Kegui's parents, but the statement did not include information on her whereabouts. Information on her current whereabouts as of December 4, 2012, does not appear to be available.

Unlawful Handling of Chen's Case

Chen Kegui's case has been fraught with procedural violations since his detention in May 2012. For example, authorities refused to allow his family to visit him for the duration of his detention, raising concerns about his treatment while in custody (Guardian, 30 November 12). Authorities also refused to allow the family's lawyers to meet with or represent Chen, instead forcing him to accept the defense of government-appointed lawyers who reportedly hailed from the same firms as those whom the government appointed to defend his uncle Chen Guangcheng in 2006 against his wishes (Statement from Family of Chen Kegui, reprinted in Human Rights in China, 25 July 12). In addition, authorities reportedly did not notify Chen's family of the trial until four hours before it was to begin, and when Chen's parents arrived for the trial, authorities did not permit them to enter the courtroom (Guardian, 30 November 12).

According to a source in contact with Chen's family, Chen does not plan to appeal his sentence, and he plans to pay compensation to an official whom he injured in the altercation (WP, 30 November 12). The CECC chairmen issued a statement on Chen's trial and sentencing on November 30, 2012, raising concerns about Chen's condition, calling on authorities to guarantee his safety and protect his rights, and urging the Chinese government to fulfill its promises to investigate abuses against Chen Guangcheng and his family.

Background: Chen Guangcheng

Previous coverage of Chen Guangcheng's case can be found online via the CECC's Virtual Academy. For additional information on Chen and his work related to China's population planning policy, see Section II—Population Planning in the CECC 2012, 2011, and 2010 Annual Reports. The CECC chairmen released a statement on Chen Guangcheng's arrival in the United States in May 2012. The CECC also held hearings to examine Chen Guangcheng's case on November 1, 2011, and on May 3, 2012.