Chinese blind lawyer confirms escape in online video

BEIJING - Chen Guangcheng, a blind Chinese lawyer, confirmed his dramatic escape from house arrest and appealed to Premier Wen Jiabao to keep his family safe, in a video posted online on Friday.

In the video, Chen - speaking with obvious emotion in a dark room in an undisclosed location - also revealed the names of several government officials he claims had beaten him and his wife, and made his son's life a misery.

"Even though I am now free, I am still concerned because my family - my mother, my wife, my child are still in their hands," he said.

"They have hurt them for a long time, and they could enact crazed revenge on them because of my departure. This revenge could be completely unrestrained."

Chen - who won worldwide acclaim for his campaigning on forced sterilisations and late-term abortions under China's "one-child" policy - escaped from his village in the eastern province of Shandong on Sunday.

He had been under house arrest along with his wife and young son since he was released from a four-year jail sentence in September 2010.

In the video posted on YouTube (http: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycMCdAtgeu0) Chen called on Wen to punish government and police officials he claimed had made his life a misery during the 19 months he spent under house arrest.

Bob Fu, a US-based activist who is in close contact with Chen, told AFP the blind lawyer was now in a "100 per cent safe" location in Beijing.

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