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Chinese activist pressured to leave US embassy, says friend (+video)

To protect his family, the blind legal activist agreed to leave the safety of the US embassy and stay in China, a trusted friend of Chen Guangcheng told the Monitor.

Chinese activist leaves US embassy
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Confusion surrounded the fate of blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng Wednesday night, as a friend said he had told her he had been forced out of the US embassy here by threats against his family.

“Chen Guangcheng called me and asked for help, he wanted outsiders to help him,” Zeng Jinyan told the Monitor in a brief telephone interview. “He said that at least he wanted his whole family to leave China.”

Earlier in the day, Mr. Chen appeared to have won a signal victory, leaving the US embassy, where he had sought shelter last week, for a medical check-up amid claims by US officials that he would be free to live and study in China.

Chen had left the embassy “in a way that reflected our choices and our values,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. Chen had left “of his own volition” a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said.

Ms. Zeng, however, the wife of well known dissident Hu Jia, said in a series of posts on her Twitter account, which she confirmed to the Monitor, that this was not true.

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