US, China in Talks Over Blind Activist: Rights Group
Chen Guangcheng may be hiding in US embassy in Beijing
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2012 2:29 PM CDT
Chinese line up at the U.S. Embassy for visa application in Beijing Friday, April 27, 2012.   (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
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(Newser) – The US is in "high-level talks" with China over the blind human rights activist who recently fled Chinese authorities, according to a group based in Texas. Chen Guangcheng "is under US protection and high-level talks are currently under way between US and Chinese officials regarding Chen's status," said the ChinaAid Association, which claims to have information from an insider, the AP reports. Chen reportedly took refuge in the US embassy in Beijing just days before Hillary Clinton and Timothy Geithner are scheduled to arrive there on an official visit.

But officials on both sides are keeping quiet. "Your question does not come within the scope of today's briefing," said a Chinese official today. "So I have no information to give you." Meanwhile, ChinaAid's founder is pressing Washington to "stand firmly" with Chen: "If there is a reason why Chinese dissidents revere the US, it is for a moment like this." But a China expert at NYU says this negotiation looks like "a stalemate for a time. China has some cards to play starting with Chen's wife and children plus the accomplices to his escape."