EU urges 'restraint' in case of escaped China dissident
(BEIJING) - The European Union on Monday urged China to exercise "utmost restraint" in the case of escaped blind activist Chen Guangcheng.
"We call on the Chinese authorities to exercise utmost restraint in dealing with the matter, including avoiding harassment of his family members or any person associated with him," a statement from the delegation of the EU to China said.
Chen is holed up in the US embassy in Beijing after escaping house arrest but is not seeking asylum abroad, fellow dissident Hu Jia said Monday.
Hu, who was detained over the weekend for questioning in the affair, also said Chinese security officials indicated that Chen had met with US ambassador Gary Locke since his escape on April 22.
"The EU had repeatedly called in the past for the lifting of Mr Chen's house arrest, including during the last EU-China human rights dialogue," the delegation's statement said.
"Human rights defenders should be treated in full compliance with Chinese laws and constitution."
Chen, a self-taught lawyer, fled house arrest in Shandong province with the help of supporters from under the noses of dozens of guards and subsequently recorded a video alleging abuses against him and his family.
Relatives and some of those who helped him escape have since disappeared into Chinese custody, Hu and other activists have said.
US officials have refused to confirm or deny reports that Chen was in the embassy.
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