Fears for Chen Guangcheng after US embassy walkout
Published 03 May 2012
The head of a ministry that supports persecuted Christians in China has expressed concerns for the welfare of activist Chen Guangcheng after he left the American embassy.
The blind human rights lawyer claimed on Wednesday that he had been forced to leave the embassy after Chinese officials threatened to beat his wife to death.
Chen took shelter at the embassy last week after escaping house arrest.
According to the Associated Press, Chen has welcomed assistance to leave the country.
“I think we’d like to rest in a place outside of China,” he told AP.
“Help my family and me leave safely.”
Chen suggested American officials had told him of the threat to his wife, but the US State Department denies the claim.
The controversy surrounding Chen’s case has overshadowed talks taking place between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese officials in Beijing.
In a statement, Mrs Clinton said: “I am pleased that we were able to facilitate Chen Guangcheng's stay and departure from the US embassy in a way that reflected his choices and our values.
"Mr Chen has a number of understandings with the Chinese government about his future, including the opportunity to pursue higher education in a safe environment.”
Bob Fu, President of ChinaAid, questioned whether Chen would be able to live freely in China.
“He has the admiration of the world right now and that will perhaps help keep him safe in the short-term, but I am fearful what could happen if the world loses interest,” he said.
“The free world has a moral imperative and obligation to ensure Chen’s protection.
“His fight for freedom is one shared by us all.”