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China sentences activist’s nephew to 3 years’ jail

BEIJING — A Chinese court sentenced the nephew of legal activist Chen Guangcheng to more than three years in jail for assault in a hurried, suddenly announced trial Friday that his parents were barred from attending.

The punishment against Chen Kegui is seen as retaliation by local officials angered by Chen Guangcheng’s daring escape from house arrest in April. Chen, who is blind, fled to the US Embassy and set off a diplomatic tussle between Beijing and Washington that embarrassed the central government.

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Friday’s surprise trial and sentencing were the final steps in the seven-month, secretive prosecution of Chen Kegui since he clashed with officials who barged into his house looking for his uncle.

At every step of the legal process, his supporters say, Chinese authorities have showed their willingness to run roughshod over justice in order to achieve their political aims. They blocked his wife and parents from seeing him and prevented them from hiring lawyers for him. His father found out about the trial only hours before it took place.

Chen Guangcheng said he was infuriated by the punishment of his nephew, who he says acted in self-defense as would anyone whose house had been raided by armed men in the middle of the night.

The United States said it was deeply disturbed by Chen Kegui’s sentencing after what it described as a summary trial and ‘‘deeply flawed’’ legal process.

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