Chen Guangcheng Leaves US Embassy

But it sounds like China may have issued a number of threats to get him out, and it’s unclear what guarantees China has provided regarding his safety in the future. From FP:

In the end, the deal they negotiated seemed to offer Chen promises, but no real guarantees. As outlined by the Americans, it included the following: a promise not only to reunite Chen with his wife and two children but also that he “will be treated humanely,” that U.S officials would have access to him in the hospital; that he would ultimately be “relocated to a safe environment,” and would have the opportunity to attend a university to continue his self-guided studies in law. There was no word on the other human rights activists who have apparently been rounded up in recent days after helping Chen’s escape; only the American officials urging the authorities “to take no retribution” against them.

WaPo has a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry, which is really lashing out on this one:

“The U.S. method was interference in Chinese domestic affairs, and this is totally unacceptable to China,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said, according to the state-run news agency Xinhua. “China demands that the United States apologize over this, thoroughly investigate this incident, punish those who are responsible, and give assurances that such incidents will not happen again.”

Chen’s case had presented the U.S. with a thorny diplomatic dilemma. Chen wanted to remain in China to fight for people’s rights, friends said. But with security officials rounding up the activists who helped Chen escape and who sheltered him, U.S. diplomats risked seeing Chen arrested if he left the embassy without some formal guarantees for his safety.

Chen made clear to U.S. diplomats from the beginning that he did not want to leave China and that he wanted his stay in the embassy to be temporary, officials said. He did not seek asylum. His priority was reuniting with his wife, two children and other family members. He has been separated from his son for about two years.

Finally, there are a lot of unconfirmed details about threats used by Beijing to force Chen out of the embassy- for now, the end of this Useless Tree post on the subject:

In a sense, the most important political phase of the Chen Guangcheng saga has just begun. He has become more than a symbol of Chinese law and politics; he is now the crux of reform or repression.

And there may be reason for pessimism. There are now tweets and reports from Zeng Jinyan – a Chinese human rights activist and wife of Hu Jia – that Chen was forced to leave the embassy with threats from Chinese authorities that if he did not leave his wife and daughter would be sent back to Shandong immediately. This could mean that the Chinese government is playing a short-term game: get Chen out of the embassy and deal with him a bit later, after media attention has died down.

The AP is reporting that not only would his wife have been returned to Shandong province, but also that she would have been beaten to death. We’ll see.

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