While Chen Guangcheng lies in a Beijing hospital, authorities in his home province have gone "crazy with reprisals" for his escape from house arrest last month, he tells Reuters. He says two relatives in Shandong have been detained, including a nephew accused of brandishing a meat cleaver at guards who burst into his home; a sister-in-law was detained and released. Still others have been harassed, Chen says. The media has not been allowed to visit Chen's home village, where Christian Bale and a CNN camera crew were roughed up by guards when they tried to visit the blind dissident last year.
Chen says he is having a hard time keeping in touch with family members in Shandong because most of their phones have been seized by officials, who he wants to see punished for the abuse he suffered during 19 months of illegal house arrest. Chen is being treated for injuries suffered in his escape and an intestinal problem that had gone untreated. He says threats to his family thus far won't delay plans to leave China with his wife and two children and study in the US. New York University has offered him a fellowship, while the University of Washington says it has offered him another to give him "another option, should he be interested in the West Coast," reports the Seattle Times.