BEIJING The eldest brother of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng said on Friday a Chinese court had rejected his lawsuit filed against local police and officials for unlawfully barging into his house after his brother's escape.
The rejection of Chen Guangfu's lawsuit on Thursday was an expected outcome, but it underscores the continued pressure on Chen Guangcheng's family in northeastern Shandong province, about five months after Chen Guangcheng left for the United States to study.
Chen Guangfu said he would appeal, and although his legal fight is likely to fail, it could renew international focus on China's human rights and legal system and galvanise lawyers and rights advocates to push for the rule of law in China.
Chinese courts rarely accept lawsuits filed by dissidents or their relatives, and when courts do they invariably find for the government.
The Yinan County People's Court rejected Chen Guangfu's lawsuit on the grounds that he did not provide "any corresponding evidence" and therefore he "cannot prove that his claims are based in reality", Chen Guangfu said by telephone from his village of Dongshigu.
Court officials could not be reached for comment.
Chen Guangfu is trying to sue police and local government officials that oversee his village for "scaling the walls of his home and for wrecking his home" just after midnight on April 27, the day after they discovered his blind brother had escaped.
"This outcome was expected; it's just one of their rogue tactics," Chen Guangfu, 55, told Reuters. "How can they say the evidence doesn't correspond with reality? Kegui is still in their hands."
Chen Guangfu's son, Chen Kegui, has been charged with intentional wounding after he took a kitchen knife and slashed three officials who had barged into Chen Guangfu's home and beat up family members of Chen Guangcheng. Chen Kegui's lawyers have been repeatedly denied access to him.
After breaking free from 19 months of house imprisonment in April, Chen Guangcheng sought refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing, embarrassing the Chinese authorities and sparking a diplomatic crisis between Beijing and Washington. He is now studying law in New York.
(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Michael Perry)