Blind dissident Chen now wants to leave China

Chen has said that he and his family feel insecure in the hands of Chinese authorities

Written by New York Times | Beijing | Published:May 4, 2012 1:14 am

JANE PERLEZ

The United States recognised that the blind dissident lawyer,Chen Guangcheng,had changed his position and now wanted to leave China,a senior Obama administration official said on Thursday. His apparent reversal injected new uncertainty into a tense diplomatic situation that had briefly appeared resolved ahead of high-level economic talks here.

As the State Department tried to reassess options for Chen,American diplomats were barred from seeing Chen at the hospital in central Beijing where he is receiving treatment for an injured foot. Speaking from the hospital,Chen has said that he and his family feel insecure in the hands of Chinese authorities,and would like to go to the United States.

“It is clear now in the last 12 to 15 hours they as a family have had a change of heart about whether they want to stay in China,” said the State Department spokeswoman,Victoria Nuland.

Chen’s dramatic reversal from wanting to stay in China after his escape and his six-day stay at the American Embassy left the administration struggling to come up with a new solution that would satisfy Chen,and be amenable to the Chinese government.

Chen suggested leaving the country with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “My fervent hope is that it would be possible for me and my family to leave on Hillary Clinton’s plane,” he said.

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