An official with the local police department, who declined to give his name, told CNN that the younger Chen's case is now "in the judicial process" and would not comment further. Repeated phone calls to the local prosecutor's office went unanswered.
"My family is ruined, but I don't regret helping Guangcheng -- and we have done nothing illegal," Chen Guangfu said. "He helped those in need with his knowledge and skill -- and at least we can answer to our conscience."
With Vice President Xi Jinping expected to be appointed the new Communist Party chief Thursday, Pearl says she feels more optimistic about the country's future direction while Hu emphasizes he has lost all hope on the current regime. Chen, citing Chinese history, views the leadership change as almost irrelevant when it comes to the inevitable fall of tyranny and move toward a constitutional democracy.
While activists seem divided on whether a new generation of leaders will improve China's human rights record, Chen Guangcheng's elderly mother says she has a more basic worry: Will her youngest son ever be allowed back home to live freely and safely?