Chinese activist and lawyer Chen Guangcheng will leave the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, where he has been sequestered for the past six days. He will be reunited with his family in China after seeking medical care.
The prominent activist, who has been blind since childhood, had been under house arrest for the last two years after speaking out against forced abortions and sterilizations of women who broke China's strict one-child policy. Chen escaped his house arrest in Dongshigu town, Shandong province on April 22 and made his way to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed Chen had left the embassy on his own accord to seek medical attention and reunite with his family.
"Mr. Chen has a number of understandings with the Chinese government about his future, including the opportunity to pursue higher education in a safe environment. Making these commitments a reality is the next crucial task. The United States government and the American people are committed to remaining engaged with Mr. Chen and his family in the days, weeks, and years ahead," Clinton's statement read.
Chen, who had previously been imprisoned for four years before his two years of house arrest, was accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke to Chaoyang Hospital, according to CBS News.
Chinese official news outlet Xinhua confirmed Wednesday Chen had left the embassy. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has called for action from the U.S. government to punish those involved in the incident and apologize for interfering in internal affairs.
Clinton arrived in China Wednesday for the annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. She confirmed before her arrival that human rights would be discussed at the meetings. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell were both in China in the final days of the Chen incident. State officials did not confirm whether they had a hand in Chen's departure.
An op-ed in the Chinese Communist Party affiliated Global Times on Wednesday said "China...doesn't want the U.S. to use the [Chen] case as a pretext to slam China's human rights situation...Chen's case has created awkward atmosphere and a diplomatic dilemma for the world's top economic powers before the dialogue even gets started."
"Although the dialogue is based on mutual respect and understanding, there can hardly be a genuine win-win solution this time," the op-ed by Center on American Studies at the Renmin University of China Director Shi Yinhong read.
by RTT Staff Writer
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