LINYI CITY, China, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The nephew of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng was sentenced to 39 years in prison Friday for injuring an officer who stormed his home looking for his uncle.
The Yinan County People's Court in Linyi City convicted Chen Kegui of assaulting government agents with a kitchen knife when the officials raided his home in April looking for his uncle, The Washington Post reported.
Kegui had initially been charged with murder, but family members said charges were downgraded.
The officers were looking for Guangcheng, a blind lawyer and activist who had been under house arrest for 19 months for his opposition to forced abortions, Voice of America reported. Guangcheng had escaped from his home and sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy. He was eventually granted permission to live and study in New York City.
Guangcheng and Kegui's father, Chen Guanfu, said the 33-year-old was only acting in self-defense when he injured the officers, the BBC reported.
"The deputy secretary in charge of law and order got 30-odd hired thugs with ax handles and busted their way" into his home, Guangcheng said in a CNN interview in May, leaving his nephew "no choice" but to defend himself.
"In the middle of the night totally against China's constitution they broke into a home." Guangcheng said. "There's no justice in this."