Dissident Chen tells China of abuse: US

2012-05-04 20:01
Beijing - Dissident Chen Guangcheng, at the heart of a crisis between the United States and China, gave an account to Chinese authorities about abuse under house arrest, a US official said on Friday.

Chen, who will be allowed to travel to the United States if a deal holds, spoke to Chinese authorities at his hospital on Thursday and Friday and alleged wrongdoing by authorities in his home province of Shandong, the official said.

"Mr Chen had the opportunity to provide detailed allegations to representatives of the Chinese government who came to interview him in his hospital room," the US official said on condition of anonymity.

Chen told them of "allegations of abuse and extralegal activity" since he was freed from prison in 2010 and put under house arrest, the official said.

Chen, who has been blind since childhood, has riled authorities by exposing forced abortions and sterilisations under China's one-child-only policy.

He fled last week to the US embassy after saying he and his wife were repeatedly beaten by local authorities in treatment considered harsh even by Chinese standards.

The activist on Wednesday was transferred to a Beijing hospital for treatment under a US-China deal, but he later said that he was afraid and wanted to study in the United States.

Broken bones

US ambassador Gary Locke on Friday met Chen at the hospital and US embassy personnel delivered a cake for one of the dissident's two children who was celebrating a birthday, another US official said.

The US embassy doctor also spoke with the hospital and discovered that Chen had broken three bones - not just one as previously thought - and has had one of his feet put into a cast, the second official said.

Chen has said that he climbed over walls, repeatedly falling, in his dramatic escape from house arrest.

Despite Chen's fears for his safety, the US officials disputed allegations that China has mistreated the dissident since he was taken to the hospital on Wednesday.

Hospital staff provided medication for his children, who were suffering fevers, and offered them haircuts and new clothes, one of the US officials said.

Under Wednesday's agreement, the United States said that China had agreed to let Chen and his family live in safety in his home country and to study at a university.

"We actually believe that the Chinese government was following through with the arrangements and the understandings that were undertaken. But what matters is what Mr Chen felt," the first US official said.

The official said that Chinese officials made known their "strong views" that they were abiding by Wednesday's deal, but that the United States explained that the activist's wishes had changed.
Read more on:    chen guangcheng  |  china  |  us

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