BEIJING – The brother of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng says a court has rejected a lawsuit he filed against local officials for raiding his house after Chen's dramatic escape from brutal house arrest.
Chen, who is blind, slipped out in April from his well-guarded rural village, triggering a police search in which officials charged into his brother's house looking for him. Chen later sneaked into a U.S. embassy, setting off a diplomatic tussle between Beijing and Washington, before he was allowed to go to New York, where he is studying English and law and writing a memoir.
His brother, Chen Guangfu, said Friday that the Yinan County court in Shandong province notified him that it had decided not to accept a lawsuit he submitted last month demanding local police and government officials provide a legal basis for storming his house.
"This type of behavior is totally illegal," Chen Guangfu said in a phone interview. "I want to file a lawsuit against such illegal actions, but I don't understand why the legal system will not uphold citizens' rights."
Chen Guangfu said the officials tore up the house and beat him, his wife and son. His son has since been detained by police and accused of attacking the officials in what the family says was an act of self-defense.
Calls to the Yinan County People's Court's propaganda office rang unanswered while a woman in the court's general office said she did not know anything about the case and refused to give her name.
Chen Guangfu said he planned to appeal the decision.
Chen Guangfu said local prosecutors had informed the family that police recommended pressing charges of "intentional infliction of injury" against his son, who has been locked up for half a year without access to family and lawyers of his choice.
Blinded by fever in infancy, Chen Guangcheng taught himself law and became known for defending the rights of poor farmers and the disabled in Shandong province. His exposure of forced abortions and sterilizations under the government's one-child policy embarrassed local officials.
He was imprisoned on what supporters say were trumped-up charges. Then, after he was released into house arrest, local officials and the people they hired sometimes beat Chen and his wife, roughed up his mother and harassed their young daughter.