Blind dissident’s escape tests US-China ties
A senior US diplomat has arrived in China on an unscheduled visit, amid claims that a fugitive Chinese dissident has taken refuge in the US embassy in Beijing.
The issue, centring on Chen Guangcheng, a blind legal activist who escaped from home imprisonment, is threatening to eclipse a planned visit by Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, in the coming days.
Kurt Campbell, the assistant US secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, was seen leaving a US embassy car in the underground car park of Beijing’s Westin Hotel shortly after 2:00 am local time (18:00 GMT) on Sunday.
Campbell did not answer questions about the purpose of his visit, but it follows claims from activists that Guangcheng had sought US protection from the Chinese government, after escaping from house arrest in his village.
Clinton, is due to hold two-day talks in Beijing, the Chinese capital, starting on Thursday. Timothy Geithner, the US treasury secretary, will be accompanying Clinton for the visit, during which talks will cover mainly economic issues, but also the crisis in Sudan and maritime claims in Asia’s seas.
The United States has been seeking Chinese help on various diplomatic issues in recent days, particularly on attempting to act as an interlocuter with the North Korean and Syrian governments. Bilateral disputes over trade, China’s currency and US relations with Taiwan will also likely be part of the strategic talks in Beijing.
Chinese and US authorities have not yet confirmed whether Guangcheng, who has exposed forced abortions and sterilisations in villages as a result of China’s one-child policy, is in the embassy.
hes managed to get himself.. whilst blind..from his detention in china to the US embassy..not bad for a blind guy..a bit of wedge politics about to begin here.. stay tuned..who helped him?