The United Nations human rights chief today voiced concern about the welfare of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, and the safety of his family members, following his reported escape from house arrest.
Mr. Chen reportedly fled on 22 April from illegal house arrest in Dongshigu town, Linyi county, in Shandong province.
His current whereabouts are unknown, but he has expressed fear of retaliation against his wife Yuan Weijing and children who remained in Shandong, according to a news release issued by the High Commissioner’s office (OHCHR).
“I’m disturbed to hear reports that other family members, including his brother Chen Guangfu and nephew Chen Kegui, have now been detained,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.
OHCHR said that although he was released in September 2010, at the end of a four-year jail term, after being convicted on charges resulting from his work on human rights, Mr. Chen and his family have continued to suffer unlawful detention, ill-treatment and other sanctions.
Ms. Pillay has previously raised concerns with the Chinese authorities over Mr. Chen’s case.
She once again urged them “to investigate the treatment of both him and his family, to ensure their physical integrity, and to provide redress for any wrongdoing by local officials.”