Meeting between Zeng Jinyan and Chen Guangcheng in Beijing shortly after Chen’s miraculous escape from Linyi.
In just a few hours after leaving the US embassy and being reunited with his family, blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng has turned around to say he wants to leave China. In contrast to earlier reports by both Chinese and US officials that he left the embassy of his own volition, Chen added that he chose to leave because he was told that his wife and children would be sent back to Shandong.
State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland has vehemently denied Chen’s account of the story. “At no time did any U.S. official speak to Chen about physical or legal threats to his wife and children,” she said. “Nor did Chinese officials make any such threats to us.”
Chen also appeared to be shocked that US embassy officials were not with him at the hospital despite having promised earlier that they would be there for him.
In a series of tweets yesterday evening, HIV/AIDS activist Zeng Jinyan — the long-suffering wife of Sakharov Prize winner Hu Jia who himself sat out a three-and-a-half year jail sentence for state subversion — explained how Chen Guangcheng came to change his mind about staying in China. She said Chen had asked her to please get the word out that he now wanted to leave the country with his entire family. Zeng’s account has been corroborated by the human rights lawyer Teng Biao who also said he has spoken with Chen.
Shanghaiist’s translation of Zeng Jinyan’s account as follows: