Family of escaped Chinese rights activist who settled in US says it faces official persecution

A brother of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng says the family faces threats and persecution, nearly a year after Chen escaped from house arrest in the country's east.

Chen's escape last April set off a diplomatic tussle between Beijing and Washington before the self-taught rights lawyer eventually was allowed to move to the United States. U.S. officials have said Beijing gave assurances that Chen's relatives would be treated in accordance with Chinese law.

Chen's eldest brother Chen Guangfu said Wednesday that his son has been threatened with life imprisonment if he appeals a three-year sentence for assault.

He was sentenced in November in a summary trial, seen by advocates as retaliation by local officials angered by his uncle's escape.