Chen: I Want to Leave China on Hillary's Plane

US Embassy denies dissident was pressured to leave

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 3, 2012 5:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng now wants to get out of China as soon as possible, despite assurances made before he left the US Embassy yesterday. "My fervent hope is that it would be possible for me and my family to leave for the US on Hillary Clinton’s plane," when she leaves Beijing at the end of this week, he tells the Daily Beast. Chen says that while he was treated well by embassy officials, he came under tremendous pressure, "not [from] those from the embassy but others," to accept a deal and leave.

Chen—who earlier said Chinese officials had threatened to kill his wife—says the threat was not explicit, but he knew what would happen if she was sent back to his home village and she had been beaten after he escaped last month. American officials say Chen told them that he wanted to stay in China and had accepted a deal to live in the city of Tianjin, free from the intimidation from security forces he had suffered during years of house arrest, reports the New York Times. His change of heart appears to have come after meeting with his family and spending a night in a Beijing hospital without hearing from US officials, the Guardian notes. US officials say they have spoken with Chen, confirmed that he wants to leave China with his family, and are now looking at options.

Chen Guangcheng is wheeled into a hospital by US Ambassador to China Gary Locke, right, and an unidentified official at left, in Beijing yesterday.
Chen Guangcheng is wheeled into a hospital by US Ambassador to China Gary Locke, right, and an unidentified official at left, in Beijing yesterday.   (AP Photo/US Embassy Beijing Press Office, HO)
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