Chinese activist leaves U.S. embassy in Beijing, 'happy and free'
China demands apologize for sheltering political dissident
Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who was believed to have been
sheltered in the U.S. embassy in Beijing, has left the embassy to seek
medical care and join his family. "Chen Guangcheng has arrived at a
medical facility in Beijing where he will receive medical treatment and
be reunited with his family," said a senior U.S. official said on
Wednesday. Chen's lawyer says Chen now feels "happy" and "free."
The legal activist had angered Chinese authorities by exposing forced abortions and sterilizations in rural locations due to China's 'one-child' policy.
Cehn was brought into the U.S. Embassy because he was in need of medical care. Chinese authorities promised Chen will be relocated to a safe environment where he can study at a university.
Chen says he has received clear assurances from Chinese authorities about his safety. Through his lawyers, Chen said he has been told he will be allowed to live with his family in a safe place in his own country.
The legal activist had angered Chinese authorities by exposing forced abortions and sterilizations in rural locations due to China's "one-child" policy.
The development comes hours after Hillary Clinton, the U.S. secretary of state, arrived in China for key annual talks.
"I am pleased that we were able to facilitate Chen Guangcheng's stay and departure from the U.S. Embassy in a way that reflected his choices and our values," Clinton said in Beijing.
Beijing has since demanded that the U.S. apologize for sheltering Cheng in its embassy. Liu Weimin, foreign ministry spokesman says that "China is very unhappy over this. The U.S. action is an interference in China's internal affairs and China cannot accept it.
"Chen Guangcheng, a native from Yinan County of eastern China's Shandong Province, entered the U.S. embassy in Beijing in late April and left of his own volition after a six-day stay in the embassy," he said.
Both the U.S. and China have broken their silence over the issue after avoiding public comment in recent days.
U.S. President Barack Obama dodged the issue at a Washington news conference, declining to confirm that he was under U.S. protection in China or that American diplomats were attempting to negotiate an agreement for him to receive asylum.
"Obviously, I'm aware of the press reports on the situation in China, but I'm not going to make a statement on the issue," the president said. "Every time we meet with China the issue of human rights comes up."
Chen, blind since childhood, has long been a high-profile figure and international rights groups.
Chen exposed how local authorities in Linyi, in Shandong province, forced thousands of women to have abortions or be sterilized as part of China's one-child policy
He was placed under house arrest in 2010 after spending more than four years in jail for disrupting traffic and damaging property.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: China, activist, Chen Guangcheng, U.S. embassy, human rights
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