China to allow activist to leave soon: US

2012-05-04 16:05

kalahari.com

Beijing - The United States said on Friday that China has agreed to let blind activist Chen Guangcheng and his family leave the country soon, raising hopes of a resolution to a damaging diplomatic crisis.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said China would expedite travel documents for the rights campaigner, who escaped house arrest and fled to the US embassy, where he spent six days before emerging on Wednesday.

"The Chinese government has indicated that it will accept Mr Chen's applications for appropriate travel documents," Nuland said in a statement.

"The United States government expects that the Chinese government will expeditiously process his applications for these documents. The United States government would then give visa requests for him and his immediate family priority attention."

Beijing earlier said Chen was free to apply to go abroad, opening the door to a face-saving resolution after the activist said he feared for his and his family's safety in China and wanted to go to the United States to study.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was "encouraged" by that development in the affair, which erupted ahead of her arrival in Beijing for annual talks that have been overshadowed by the drama.

Retribution

"Progress has been made to help him have the future that he wants. We will be staying in touch with him as this process moves forward," Clinton said.

The activist, who spent four years in jail after exposing forced abortions and sterilisations under the "one-child" policy, unleashed a diplomatic furore with his flight from his home in northeast Shandong province.

US officials said Chen, aged 40, left the embassy after Beijing pledged he and his family would be treated "humanely", but since then he has said he fears retribution by Chinese authorities.

"I am in great danger... I hope the government will respect the commitments to guarantee my rights agreed to between China and the United States," he told AFP by telephone earlier on Friday from the hospital where he is being treated.

The unravelling of the case prompted the United States to renew talks with Chen to try to establish the next move for the activist, who has said he does not want to go into permanent exile but is seeking a period of rest abroad.

Clinton said the US ambassador to China spoke with Chen by phone Friday and that an embassy doctor visited him at the hospital where he is being treated for injuries sustained in his escape.

Diplomatic scramble

China has reacted angrily to the case, demanding a US apology for "interference" in its affairs. But analysts said Beijing would likely allow him to leave the country.

"The Obama administration is putting a lot of pressure on the Chinese to make sure this story will end up nicely for Chen Guangcheng," said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, politics professor at the Hong Kong Baptist University.

"I think the [Chinese] foreign ministry is going to arrange a deal."

The United States has scrambled to contain the growing diplomatic row over Chen, which disrupted the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue and threatened to hurt co-operation on Iran, Syria and key economic issues.

In extraordinary scenes on Capitol Hill, Chen phoned in to a congressional hearing on his case on Thursday to ask lawmakers for help to travel to the United States and appealed directly to Clinton.

"I really am fearing for my family members' lives," he said, speaking through a mobile phone held up to the hearing.

"The thing I'm most concerned with now is the safety of my mother and my brother," he told the hearing, as stunned witnesses and reporters looked on. "I really want to know what's going on with them."

Pressure

Details of how Chen gained entry to the embassy and the circumstances of his departure have been unclear, but The New York Times gave a gripping account of a flight to safety that included a car chase through Beijing.

It said that Chen made his way to the capital where friends had arranged a rendezvous with US officials after hauling himself over walls to escape house arrest.

With Chinese security closing in on them, Chen was pulled into an American vehicle, which threw off the tail and headed for the embassy where the activist was secreted in a US Marine dormitory.

Chen, a self-taught lawyer, has since said he felt pressured to leave the embassy, fearing for the safety of his family who suffered repeated abuses at the hands of local officials in their hometown.

Rights activists said on Friday that Chinese police had also detained Chen's supporters at the hospital where he is being treated, and have beaten two of them.

US State Department officials have been adamant that Chen never requested asylum and strongly denied allegations that he was pressured to leave.

Chen's flight came despite round-the-clock surveillance at his house in Shandong, where he has been under heavy restrictions after completing his jail term in 2010.

Read more on:    chen guangcheng  |  hillary clinton  |  china  |  us
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

3 must-do trail runs

If you love trail running, you have to put these on your bucket list.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route
Watch: Insane road bike skills!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

One day only! – 40% off Appliances!

Get 40% off 100’s of appliances at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may prefer to be in charge because then you can call the shots. You are not as flexible as you like to make out to be and you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.