Tracking Chen Guangcheng's Roller Coaster Ride

Escape from house arrest: check. Get into the US embassy: check. End up surrounded by Chinese government officials in a Beijing hospital? That probably wasn't part of the plan, but that's where dissident lawyer Chen Guangcheng is now. Follow LinkAsia to find out who he is and where he's going next.

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  1. UPDATE:
  2. LinkAsia host Yul Kwon interviewed Minky Worden, Director of Global Initiatives at Human Rights Watch, to get her expert opinion on what will happen next as Chen's saga continues to unfold. 
  3. "The Top Priority Should Be Keeping [Chen] Safe"
  4. What does China think about US involvement in Chen's case? They aren't pleased, to say the least. LinkAsia has exclusive access to this report from state broadcaster CCTV. They are reporting that China is demanding an apology from the US for its involvement in what they perceive to be a domestic Chinese issue. 
  5. LinkAsia has South Korean broadcaster MBC's latest report on developments in the Chen Guangcheng case, including footage from the hospital where he is being treated. 
  6. BACKGROUND:
  7. Before he made headlines this week, only China followers, human rights groups, and Chinese activists knew who Chen Guangcheng was. LinkAsia contributor David Bandurski covered the story for us last year, as Chinese social media started spreading news about his plight. 
  8. Blind Lawyer's Plight Spurs Debate
  9. Western media briefly picked up the story of Chen's house arrest when the actor Christian Bale tried -- and failed -- to visit the blind activist at his home. 
  10. But with his dramatic escape from house arrest last week, Chen Guangcheng made global headlines and stayed there. At first, no one knew where he was. Most reports speculated that he was hiding out in the US embassy in Beijing. More alarming were the reports indicating that his relatives and friends were being rounded up by Chinese officials. 
  11. Then, in short order, it was confirmed that the American embassy had sheltered Chen, that Chinese and American officials had agreed on a deal for Chen to leave the embassy, and that Chen was being hospitalized for a foot injury that he had sustained while escaping from house arrest. 
  12. The deal was that Chen and his family would move to Tianjin, far away from the town and the officials that had imprisoned them. There, Chen Guangcheng would get the chance to formally study Chinese law. But after an overnight stay at the hospital, the deal, which had seemed like a diplomatic win for the Americans, seemed to fall apart. 
  13. The timing of Chen's escape could not have come at a worse time for the US, coming as it did on the eve of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, high-level bilateral talks with China covering a wide range of issues. Many felt that the Americans had rushed through the negotiations in order to smooth the way for the impending talks. 
  14. Now, it seems there's another proposal on the table, one that manages to save face for both China and the US. Chen says he wants to leave China, temporarily, to study law in the United States. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin says Chen can apply to study abroad, and US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the visa for Chen and his immediate family would get priority attention. 
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