China's famous blind activist Chen Guangcheng is on the run, having escaped his minders. He has also reportedly issued a direct challenge powerful Premier Wen Jiabao by way of a video posted today, according to CNN.
The 40-year-old activist and self-taught lawyer questions the Chinese leadership in the video, posted to YouTube today by the US-based Chinese-language website Boxun, reported The Wall Street Journal.
"Premier Wen, people cannot understand all these illegal acts," Chen is quoted by the BBC as saying in its compilation of the YouTube video extracts. "Has it been local officials who disobey the law, or have they been acting upon orders from the central government? You should give the public a clear answer very soon."
The video also shows Chen demanding that violence against his family cease. The Wall Street Journal said relatives claim to have already been targeted by local authorities presumably embarrassed by the daring escape of one of the country's most famous activists. In December, police had prevented Academy Award-winning actor Christian Bale from seeing him.
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Chen is known for his aggressive campaign against forced abortions in China, activitism that saddled him with a four-year prison sentence. After his release in 2010, he was placed under house arrest on charges of ruining property and disturbing traffic, said CNN.
Fellow Chinese activist He Peirong told CNN today that she was in the car with Chen as they drove to Bejing following his reported April 22 escape from his home village of Dongshigu in Shandong Province, a move she said he spent months plotting.
The US-based advocacy group Human Rights in China detailed a conversation with Chen's nephew Chen Kegui, who lives near the activist's home, in which he claims his mother heard a guard saying Thursday, "Chen Guangcheng is no longer here," according to TIME.
Bob Fu, head of the Christian rights group ChinaAid, told WSJ that Chen is now in a “100% safe location" somewhere in the Chinese capital.
The US embassy has refused to comment on conflicting rumors as to whether or not Chen was being protected there.
Chen has refused offers to help him leave the country, Fu told WSJ.
Watch the video posted by Buxon below: