China activist 'wants to go abroad'

China activist 'wants to go abroad'

Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng now wants to leave China with his family, the US said today.

Officials had spoken twice to Chen and also his wife and “they as a family have had a change of heart about whether they want to stay in China”, said an official.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said they need to talk with Chen more to decide on options.

Chen spent six days in the US Embassy in Beijing after fleeing house arrest in his rural town where his activism angered local officials.

He emerged yesterday when US officials said they had an agreement with China for him to set up a life in another province.

Chen was taken for treatment for a leg injury at a Beijing hospital and to be reunited with his family.

He initially said he had assurances that he would be safe in China but hours later he said he feared for his family’s safety unless they were spirited abroad. He also said he felt pressured to leave the embassy.

US ambassador Gary Locke told a news conference that he could say “unequivocally” that Chen was never pressured to leave.


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