April 28, 2012- Chen Guangcheng, a blind activist, has escaped his house arrest in a small village in rural China. He is now said to be in a secret location in Beijing with sources saying he may be under United States protection, but that was not confirmed by either the U.S. Embassy or the Chinese government.
A diplomatic rift could take place if in fact Guangcheng is under U.S. protection. Next week Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State and other officials are due to visit China for another economic and strategic meeting.
Activists described the escape, saying Chen was able to slip away from the guarded home last Sunday night. Fellow activists then drove him to others, who transported him to Beijing.
Chen recorded a video address to Premier Jiabao that condemned the treatment of him and his family. The video accuses officials from the Communist Party by name. The video was sent on Friday by activists to an overseas website that carries Chinese news, Boxun.com, which then posted excerpts of it on YouTube.
After Chen escaped, another activist, Hu Jia met with Chen. Following their meeting, the people handling Chen called Jia and said Chen was okay and in a safe secure place. Jia said the only 100% safe place in all of China is the U.S. Embassy.
A photo was posted by Jia’s wife on Twitter that showed Chen with Jia and both men had smiles on their faces. If Chen’s escape is successful, then the civil rights community in the country will get a boost. Of late, the beleaguered community has faced increased arrests and other types of harassment from the government.