Blind activist scales wall to flee Chinese captors
Human rights activist Chen Guangcheng reportedly sheltered in U.S. embassy
A blind human rights activist reportedly scaled a wall under the cover
of night in order to flee his house arrest in eastern China. According
to Hu Jia, a dissident who met Chen Guangcheng, Chen scaled the wall
past guards and bristling surveillance equipment. Chen has taken shelter
in the U.S. embassy, but American officials have not publicly confirmed
Blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng has exposed forced abortions and sterilizations in villages as a result of China's one-child policy.
"But he kept going and stumbled forward. And, as I remember, he said it took 20 hours to get past all these obstacles to get to the people waiting to meet him," he said.
Hu provided photographs that showed the two meeting in Beijing. Hu was detained by police for 24 hours of interrogation this weekend after meeting Chen upon his arrival in the capital.
Hu says that Chen had remained indoors for long periods so that the people watching him became accustomed to not seeing him for a few days. After escaping, Chen was then taken to Beijing by supporters.
"It's clearly understood that his supporters took Chen Guangcheng to the safest place, and our understanding is that the safest place means the United States embassy," Hu said.
Texas-based group ChinaAid, says it "learned from a source close to the Chen Guangcheng situation that Chen is under US protection and high-level talks are currently under way between US and Chinese officials regarding Chen's status."
A senior White House official says that President Obama wants to strike the "appropriate balance" in dealing with the issue.
John Brennan, Obama's top counterterrorism adviser told television reporters that Obama tries to "balance our commitment to human rights" while continuing "to carry out our relationships with key countries overseas.
"We're going to make sure that we do this in the appropriate way and that appropriate balance is struck."
The assistant U.S. Secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell arrived in China on an unscheduled visit on Sunday, but did not answer questions about the purpose of his visit, triggering further speculation that Chen has indeed taken shelter in the embassy.
The matter is threatening to eclipse a planned visit by Hillary Clinton, the U.S. secretary of state in the coming days.
Chen, a self-schooled legal advocate, and his family had been restricted to his village home in Linyi in Shandong province and subjected to relentless surveillance since September 2010, when he was released from jail.
Chen has exposed forced abortions and sterilizations in villages as a result of China's one-child policy.
The U.S. has been seeking Chinese help on various diplomatic issues in recent days, particularly on attempting to act as an interlocutor with the North Korean and Syrian governments. Bilateral disputes over trade, China's currency and U.S. relations with Taiwan will also likely be part of the strategic talks.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Chen Guangcheng, human rights, China, house arrest, escape
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