U.S. 'Closely Monitoring' Activist Chen Guangcheng's Relatives in Chinese Custody
State Department official Michael Posner said the United States was "closely monitoring" the situation of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng's friends and relatives who are now being held by Communist Chinese authorities, adding that the department would "raise our concerns" with Chinese officials, CNSNews.com reports. Chen recently said he feared for the safety of his nephew, Chen Kegui, who is in police custody after defending himself from local officials who stormed his home and attacked his parents in their search for Chen Guangcheng. "We are closely monitoring what's happening with [Chen]'s immediate family, his brother, his nephew, the lawyers who've undertaken to represent his nephew, others who assisted him," Posner said. "We'll continue to have contact with Mr. Guangcheng and get his input." Posner also said there had been a "closing of space" for human rights activist in China over the past several years, which was concerning to the State Department. Chen faced years of imprisonment and abusive house arrest for fighting China's one-child policy and exposing more than 100,000 forced abortions in his area. After escaping from house arrest April 22, he sought refuge at the U.S. embassy in Beijing before traveling to the U.S. with his family May 19 to pursue a fellowship at New York University.