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BEIJING, May 2, 2012 ( – Chen Guangcheng has confirmed that he was forced to leave the Embassy because Chinese officials are threatening his family members, and says that although U.S. officials promised to accompany him at his departure, they failed to follow through on their promises, according to one British news source.

Channel 4 News reported Wednesday that it spoke directly with Chen, the forced abortion opponent who escaped abuse by the Chinese government after fleeing to the U.S. Embassy last week, who says he went to a Beijing hospital for reasons unrelated to his health.


“No. I came because of an agreement. I was worried about the safety of my family,” said Chen regarding his departure, according to Channel 4. “A gang of them have taken over our house, sitting in our room and eating at our table, waving thick sticks around.

“They’ve turned our home into a prison, with seven cameras and electric fence all around.”

Chen expressed his dismay that no one from the U.S. embassy had accompanied him. “Nobody from the (US) Embassy is here. I don’t understand why. They promised to be here,” he said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose arrival for talks in Beijing Wednesday had been overshadowed by Chen’s escape to the Embassy, said in a statement she was pleased to facilitate Chen’s “stay and departure” in a way that “reflected his choices and our values.” China’s government-run news source Xinhua similarly reported that Chen left “of his own volition.”


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Bob Fu, head of ChinaAid, said that the U.S. Assistant Secretary had personally assured Fu that he was accompanying Chen to the hospital, and Chen’s lawyer Li Jinsong said the activist was “very happy,” according to the Associated Press.

In another AP report Wednesday, a U.S. official speaking anonymously told reporters that Chen had received assurances from the Chinese government that the maltreatment would cease, and that he escaped from house arrest in order to receive medical care and did not request asylum in America.

But Fu and another friend of Chen’s in Beijing, Zeng Jinyan, separately said that they had learned that news of Chen leaving freely was false, and that he left in order to save his family and was still calling for help.

Channel 4 News producer Bessie Du described a weeping Chen, who spoke to her Wednesday of his confusion and dismay over being forced to leave the Embassy as well as the apparent broken promises from both the U.S. and China.

“He sounded firm in the beginning when I ask him what he wanted to tell the world,” wrote Du. “I asked him if he told the embassy that he wanted to leave China, he said: ‘no, because I didn’t have enough information (to make a decision)’. Later he got more anxious and started crying: ‘I’m very sad’ …

“I think he really doesn’t know what to do now, especially after he heard about the threat his wife and children have received. His friends also tell him that he cannot rely on the ‘assurance’ from the Chinese authority.. This confuses him even more.”


Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers told that the exchange described by Channel 4 appeared consistent with the emerging picture of Chen’s situation, but that conflicting reports have yet to be pieced together for certain.

Chen reportedly now says he wants to leave the country with his family, despite earlier saying he wished to stay and continue his advocacy. Chen has a wife and one child.

Channel 4 reports that attorney Teng Biao, a close friend of Chen, has tweeted that the latter is “obviously not feeling safe now.”


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