Blind activist now wants to leave China
BEIJING (AP) — The blind Chinese activist at the center of a six-day diplomatic tussle between the U.S. and China said he fears for his family's lives and wants to leave China, hours after American officials announced an agreement with Beijing that was to guarantee his safety.
Chen Guangcheng escaped from illegal house arrest and other mistreatment in his rural town, placing himself under the protection of U.S. diplomats last week. On Wednesday, after six days holed up inside the American embassy, he emerged and was taken to a nearby hospital. U.S. officials said they had extracted from the Chinese government a promise that Chen would reunite with his family and be allowed to start a new life in a university town.
Hours later, however, a shaken Chen told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his hospital room that U.S. officials told him the Chinese authorities would would have sent his family back to his home province if he remained inside the embassy. He added that, at one point, the U.S. officials told him his wife would have been beaten to death.
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