A brother of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng has escaped house arrest and made his way to Beijing, potentially setting off another diplomatic crisis like the one sparked by his younger brother's quest for asylum.
Much like his sibling, Chen Guangfu was legally a free man, but had been confined to his home and village by local security forces in Shandong Province. His lawyer says that he decided to travel to the capital to help his son, who was jailed after a confrontation with local police who were searching for his uncle last month. At that time, Guangcheng had fled his own house arrest and escaped to the United States embassy. He claimed that his entire family had become targets for intimidation and violence due to his work on behalf of women affected by the state's policy of forced abortions and sterilization. Guangfu escape would seem to confirm those claims and bring the story back to life.
After a tense couple of weeks, Chinese and American officials negotiated for Guangcheng to move to the United States along with his wife and children, but his other family members remained behind. Guangfu and his son have obviously been subjected to much of the same treatment that his crusading brother had been. Following his successful move to America — and end of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's trip to the region — it looked as though Guangcheng story had been resolved and would fade away. Instead, his brother's escape shines another harsh light on China's human rights policies. However, unless the American embassy takes him — which it does not appear to have done so far — it seems unlikely that U.S. officials will step into help this time.