Washington: Blind dissident Chen Guangcheng has said that his relatives in China are being subjected to ''frenzied '' retaliation by local officers following his escape from illegal house arrest.
Speaking in New York after travelling to the US, Chen described how his elder brother and nephew had been stripped and beaten by a gang of ''hired thugs'' by a senior local Communist Party official.
Chen said his nephew, Chen Kegui, had been forced to take a kitchen knife to defend himself against the assaults organised by a ''deputy-secretary for law and order''.
"The latest information I have is that my nephew’s clothes were torn off and his head, his arm were injured all over," The Telegraph quoted Chen as saying.
He added that Chen Kegui was now facing attempted murder charges and was still being refused access to a lawyer.
"Keeping him isolated from his lawyer suggests he may have been tortured and they are just trying to hide the fact by not letting him meet anyone," Chen said.
He told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations, an independent think-tank, that China should follow the example of other Confucian states that had developed eastern-style democracies, like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
"Nobody can stop the progress of history. The central government is going to be forced to move forward," he said, predicting that democracy would come to China, driven in part by the transformational power of the Internet.
Chen urged international democracies to keep pressure on China over human rights.
First Published: Friday, June 01, 2012, 16:16