Activists: Blind Chinese Lawyer Flees House Arrest
Activists: Blind Chinese Lawyer Flees House Arrest, A blind legal activist who is a key figure in China’s rights movement escaped the house arrest he has lived under for a year and a half, fleeing to an unknown location and angering his captors, fellow rights campaigners said Friday.
Chen Guangcheng slipped out of his usually well-guarded house in Dongshigu town on Sunday, said the campaigners, who are based in China and overseas. He Peirong, a leading campaigner for Chen’s freedom, said she picked him up and drove him to “a relatively safe place” she would not further describe.
If confirmed, Chen’s freedom would be a boost for a persecuted dissident community that has seen repression increase over the past two years. His plight under house arrest has been closely monitored by Western governments and by local activists, who have seen Chen – a self-taught lawyer who was blinded by a fever in infancy – as an inspiring, determined fighter for justice.
“His mental state is pretty good. He’s alive, but whether he’s safe I don’t know,” He said from her home city of Nanjing. She said she left Chen a few days ago but declined to discuss further details, other than to say he is no longer in his home province of Shandong, southeast of Beijing.
She denied an online report by Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao newspaper that Chen entered the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on Thursday night. The paper did not name a source.
“I can tell you he’s not at the U.S. Embassy, and he’s not in Shandong. I did talk to the U.S. Embassy people, though,” He said.
The embassy would not comment. Security outside the embassy appeared normal Friday. (AP)