Chinese Dissident Chen Guangcheng Wants To Leave China; Says He Was Pressured To Leave US Embassy
Beijing, China -
Complicating US-Chinese relations further, the Chinese blind dissident Chen Guangcheng who escaped his captors keeping him on house arrest and made it to the US Embassy in Beijing now has told western news outlets that he wants to leave China and that he left the US Embassy after being pressured by the Chinese government over fears that they will continue to imprison and torture his wife.
Chen said he wants to leave China with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is in China now for talks about trade agreements and other issues.
Officials at the US Embassy in Beijing said they are trying to find a way to get Chen out of China but could not ensure it would happen since he is no longer at the Embassy and under US protection. State Department officials said that if Chen seek asylum in the United States he would more than likely be granted it, due in part to Chen having expressed fear of reprisals and ongoing human rights violations in China by the Chinese government.
While a bold move by the US Ambassador to visit Chen and personally and physically accompany him to the US Embassy and onwards to a US Diplomatic flight would work, that possibility is doubtful due to the diplomatic backlash that would come from the Chinese government. Chen asked that the US Embassy do the right thing regardless of other US interests.
The event has caused considerable embarrassment for China who has demanded an apology from the US for meddling in what it considers its own internal and domestic affairs, though the US is unlikely to ever make that apology.
China previously agreed to let Chen and his family move to a new area, give him a job at a university, and let him live freely without abuse but has since indicated that it is reneging on the deal made with the US. As part of the deal, the US would check up on Chen from time to time for as long as it took to ensure he is living free and not harassed, and that the Chinese government would look into claims of abuse by local police officials.
"My fervent hope is that it would be possible for me and my family to leave for the U.S. on [Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton's plane,” Chen told the Daily Beast from a local hospital where he's still believed to be with his wife and two children.
Clinton's talks with the Chinese was suppose to be over trade and economics with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner also present, but have been side-railed by the Chen incident and talks have been dominated by US-Chinese negotiations on what to do with Chen instead said an Embassy spokesperson.