Second Blind Activist Escapes Chinese Custody - Rights Group

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Reuters
A second blind Chinese activist has escaped state custody, a Hong Kong human rights group said, three months after dissident Chen Guangcheng embarrassed Beijing's vast security network by breaking out of detention and obtaining U.S. protection.
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A second blind Chinese activist has escaped state custody, a Hong Kong human rights group said, three months after dissident Chen Guangcheng embarrassed Beijing's vast security network by breaking out of detention and obtaining U.S. protection.

Chinese Citizens' Rights Protection Alliance said 57-year-old Li Guizhi, detained at the border in southern Shenzhen city for trying to enter Hong Kong to join a large pro-democracy protest on July 1, had escaped custody this week with the help of her relatives.

Li had been petitioning authorities for years to investigate the death of her son, who died suddenly in 2006 and was quickly cremated, Liu said. She never saw her son's dead body.

She had wanted to enter Hong Kong to petition her cause at a march held to mark the anniversary of Britain's 1997 handover of the territory back to China, Liu added.

Li was subsequently held in a hotel room in Hebei province in northeast China weeks later and, when her guards were dozing, the relatives sneaked her out of the building, Liu Weiping, a spokesman for the alliance, said late on Thursday.

"On July 17, at around 5:00 a.m., she managed to escape her hotel room with help from her relatives. They (police) are now pressuring her family to hand her over," Liu said.

Chinese police were not immediately available to comment .

Chinese domestic security have suffered some humiliating lapses this year, culminating in April with the daring escape from house arrest of Chen, a blind legal activist who slipped past his guards and travelled hundreds of kms (miles) to Beijing where he secured protection inside the U.S. embassy.

He later flew to New York with his family under a deal negotiated between Washington and Beijing.

Li Guizhi is now in a "safe place" in her native Hebei province - close to Chen's own Shandong province - but her relatives fear police will catch up with her soon, Liu said.

Liu said Li had been detained repeatedly since 2006. "Her health is in a terrible state ... and she has asthma. Her asthma played up when they caught her," he added.