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Because Chinese negotiators worked with their American counterparts, not with Chen himself while he was in the US embassy, where he had sought refuge after escaping house arrest a few days earlier, “they won’t pay much attention to what he says,” believes Professor Shi. “In international relations, changing this kind of agreement is ridiculous.”
US officials spent the day at the Beijing hospital where Chen is undergoing medical tests, but had been unable to see him, according to a senior official.
Chen told the BBC by telephone he believed Chinese security men were denying embassy representatives access to him. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that US officials had spoken to Chen twice by phone on Thursday and with his wife, and that “they as a family have had a change of heart about whether they want to stay in China.”
“We are continuing to try to ascertain and work with him on what he wants to do,” the senior official said, while Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, who helped negotiate the original deal, talked with Chinese officials Thursday.