State Department Disputes Latest Chinese Activist Account On Family Threats

Discrepancies between the accounts of the U.S. government and blind activist lawyer Chen Guangcheng as to the latter’s departure from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing grew wider when the State Department contradicted Chen’s account that threats against his family were relayed by U.S. officials. Foreign Policy reported that State spokeswoman Victoria Nuland disputed Chen’s account, reported by the AP, that the U.S. told him about threats made against his family by the Chinese government. Nuland said:

At no time did any US official speak to Chen about physical or legal threats to his wife and children. Nor did Chinese officials make any such threats to us. U.S. interlocutors did make clear that if Chen elected to stay in the Embassy, Chinese officials had indicated to us that his family would be returned to [their home in] Shandong, and they would lose their opportunity to negotiate for reunification.