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Nephew freed from prison in China after serving term seen as retribution for activist's escape

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BEIJING — The nephew of lawyer and blind activist Chen Guangcheng has been released from prison after serving a three-year, three-month sentence widely seen as retribution for his uncle's daring escape from house arrest.

Chen said in an email from the United States that Chen Kegui had returned to his home in eastern China on Wednesday and was seeking treatment for appendicitis and stomach ailments that had gone untreated in prison.

Chen Kegui, 35, was sentenced in the eastern province of Shandong in 2012, after he fought with local officials storming his house in the wake of his uncle's escape and eventual flight to the United States.

Chen Guangcheng, a blind, self-taught lawyer, was known for his activism against forced abortions, and in the U.S. has redoubled his condemnation of China's leadership.

He had evaded his round-the-clock guard and was driven to Beijing, where he took refuge in the U.S. Embassy. Tense negotiations for sending him to the U.S. came amid high-level bilateral talks led by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the sides narrowly avoided a diplomatic crisis.

Chen is now a student and human rights advocate supported by three different institutions in the U.S.

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