Activist leaves embassy amid China-US standoff

China is demanding an apology from the US over the standoff involving activist Chen Guangcheng, who has now left the US embassy in Beijing.

Chen left the embassy to seek medical care and join his family, officials said on Wednesday, in a dramatic turn in a standoff between the Pacific powers on the eve of key talks.

Hours after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in China for long-planned meetings, the US broke nearly a week of silence over Chen’s case and said that the dissident has been taken for treatment in Beijing.

“Chen Guangcheng has arrived at a medical facility in Beijing where he will receive medical treatment and be reunited with his family,” a senior US official said on condition of anonymity.

But Wednesday’s nearly simultaneous announcements from the two countries did not appear to have ended the row, with China demanding an apology for what it called interference in its affairs.

“China is very unhappy over this. The US action is an interference is China’s internal affairs and China cannot accept it,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin said, as quoted by the state Xinhua news agency.

‘Thoroughly investigate this incident’
“China demands that the US apologise and thoroughly investigate this incident, deal with the people who are responsible and ensure these types of incidents do not occur again,” he said.

Chen, who riled Chinese authorities by exposing forced abortions and sterilisations under the “one-child” policy, fled house arrest last week and sought refuge in the US embassy where he demanded assurances on his freedom.

His flight came despite round-the-clock surveillance around his home in eastern Shandong province, where he has alleged that he and his family suffered severe beatings after he ended a four-year jail term in 2010.

The US official did not immediately provide more details on Chen, such as whether he would be allowed to return home or head to the United States. The 40-year-old self-taught lawyer, who has been blind since childhood, has voiced hope for staying in China. — AFP


These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Ayo report: CFO acted in the PIC’s interests

A disciplinary inquiry has cleared Matshepo More of all charges, but she remains suspended

A lifeline for the homeless people in eThekwini

eThekwini plans to retain permanent and safe open spaces for people with nowhere to sleep

Judge trashes entire lockdown regime as constitutionally flawed

The high court ruling will delight gatvol South Africans but is unlikely to stand the test of time

The backlogs, denials and future of testing Covid-19

The National Health Laboratory Services finally admitted to a bottleneck last week, after denying there were any issues since April. According to the service, the backlog of 80 000 tests started in the first week of May
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday