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Chinese activist leaves US embassy; ‘was told wife’s life in danger’

Chen Guangcheng escaped from illegal house arrest,placing himself under the protection of US diplomats last week.

Written by Associated Press | Beijing | Published: May 3, 2012 12:52:04 am

The blind Chinese activist at the centre of a six-day diplomatic tussle between the US and China said he fears for his family’s lives and wants to leave China,hours after US officials announced an agreement with Beijing that was to guarantee his safety.

Chen Guangcheng escaped from illegal house arrest,placing himself under the protection of US diplomats last week. On Wednesday,after six days holed up inside the US embassy,he emerged and was taken to a nearby hospital.

Hours later,however,a shaken Chen said in a telephone interview from his hospital room that US officials told him the Chinese authorities would have sent his family back to his home province if he remained inside the embassy. He added that,at one point,the US

officials told him his wife would have been beaten to death.

“I think we’d like to rest in a place outside of China,” Chen said,appealing again for help from US officials. “Help my family and me leave safely.” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that no US official spoke to Chen about threats to his wife and children.

At the hospital,Chen was reunited with his wife,his daughter and a son he hasn’t seen in at least two years. But after they got to his room in Chaoyang Hospital,he said no US officials stayed behind and that the family is now scared and wants to leave the country.

Earlier in the day,the Chinese Foreign Ministry signalled its pique,demanding that the US apologise and investigate how Chen got into the embassy.

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