The pundits were wrong. Blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng did not leave for the United States. Six days ago he fled the compound where he was under house arrest and was spirited to the US Embassy in Beijing. Today he walked free – in China.
This is good news for Cheng in the immediate term. He stated his desire to stay in China. Early reports say he will be relocated and will be allowed to work. The US Government will “monitor” his condition.
No one expected Cheng to remain in China. Usually those who seek refuge n foreign embassies are put under death sentence penalties if they exit. It is treason to seek such help. It was understood he would be whisked abroad on “medical” grounds and then his family would be resettled in the United States.
Cheng is staying in China to continue his work on human rights.
Upon his exit Cheng was escorted by US Ambassador Gary Locke – the first Chinese-American ambassador for the USA to China. Many said this case was the first real test of his leadership. He was taken to hospital for medical checks. Where he goes next has yet to be fully reported.
China meanwhile released its bluster. The government demanded the US apologise for allowing a Chinese citizen to enter its embassy.