AP: Chinese Dissident Says He Left Embassy Because Of Threats Against Family | The tale of Chinese dissident and legal activist Chen Guangcheng’s stay at the U.S. embassy in Beijing seemed to be moving toward a tentative close just this morning. The blind activist left for medical care at a hospital with what the State Department said were U.S.-brokered guarantees for his safety in a deal that honored his desire to stay in China. But now Chen tells the AP he only left the embassy because of threats against his wife and family (relayed by U.S. officials), and that he wants to leave China — contradicting a statement from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Here are the AP’s breaking tweets:
In a Washington Post article where fellow Chinese human rights activists expressed fears that the deal for Chen’s safety could quickly unravel, Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell insisted Chen left the U.S. Embassy of his own volition. He said in a statement:
I was there. Chen made the decision to leave the Embassy after he knew his family was safe and at the hospital waiting for him, and after twice being asked by Ambassador Locke if he ready to go. He said, “Zou,” – let’s go. We were all there as witnesses to his decision, and he hugged and thanked us all.
John Sparks, U.K. Channel 4′s Asia correspondent, posted to his twitter account responses to interview questions with Chen that match up with answers given to the AP, adding that no one from the U.S. Embassy was at the hospital despite assurances and giving new details about the Chinese government’s harassment of and threats against Chen’s family. Channel 4 posted a full account of the interview.