In blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng's hometown, pain lingers

Chinese activist Chen's family face uncertain future
Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has resettled in New York with his wife and children. But, as Holly Williams reports, the rest of his family still faces an uncertain future in China.
CBS News

(CBS News) Chen Guangcheng no longer lives in Dongshigu village. The human rights activist several weeks ago escaped from house arrest in China and sought help inside the U.S. Embassy. After weeks of negotiations, the Chinese allowed Chen to re-settle in New York with his wife and two children, but a lot of his family is still in China.

Chen's old village is now guarded by men who locals said were thugs hired by the government. These men are refusing to identify themselves, but they told a CBS News crew they were not allowed into the village, and couldn't film here.

Chen Guangcheng escaped house arrest in April, leaving much of his extended family behind.

Chen's older brother met with CBS News at a secret location nearby. He said police tortured him to discover how Chen managed to escape.

"They handcuffed me, and tied me to a chair," he said through a translator. "Then they chained my legs together and began to beat me around the head. They removed my own leather belt, looped it together, and then hit me with that as well."

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Chen's brother said they also beat his wife. When his son tried to defend himself with a knife, he said the police arrested him and charged him with attempted murder.

Chinese activist Chen's family face uncertain future
Wang Jinxiang, 78, mother of blind activist Chen Guangcheng CBS News

Chen's elderly mother Wang Jinxiang is 78 years old. She said she's been targeted for years, ever since her son spoke out about how the local government forced women to undergo abortion as part of China's one-child policy.

"The men follow me wherever I go," she said. "Three or four of them at a time. Sometimes they search me - my bag, my clothes, my pockets. They even search my shoes."

Chen's brother said the activist waited until his guards went to get water to make a run for it. He had only ten seconds to do it. It was a desperate act after years of imprisonment and abuse.

Now, Chen has freedom and a new life in New York with his wife and children. But the rest of his family still faces an uncertain future.