Chen Guangcheng, a prominent dissident who embarrassed Chinese authorities last week as he managed to escape his house arrest, has now left the U.S. embassy where he had been hiding.
According to the BBC, Chen left the embassy a “free” man after striking a deal with the government under which he will be allowed to enroll in university.
Authorities had been on high alert ever since Chen escaped his home prison in Dongshigu late last week and posted a damning video demanding that the government take responsibility for his family’s safety and combat corruption. Chen, who is blind, is a well-known human rights activist.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, currently visiting China, issued a statement about Chen’s situation:
From the BBC:
“I am pleased that we were able to facilitate Chen Guangcheng’s stay and departure from the US embassy in a way that reflected his choices and our values. Mr. Chen has a number of understandings with the Chinese government about his future, including the opportunity to pursue higher education in a safe environment.”
UPDATE: According to the New York Times, Chen told the Associated Press he left the US embassy after a US official had told him Chinese authorities were threatening to beat his wife to death. Another American official denied that was the case. The report also says Chen is asking the US for help to leave China, saying, “I think we’d like to rest in a place outside of China. Help my family and me leave safely.”