In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast’s Melinda Liu, blind dissident Chen Guangcheng says he’s been abandoned by American officials at a Chinese hospital and begs to leave the country on Hillary Clinton’s plane.
.... At the hospital, Chen’s fears mounted as his wife told him she’d been tied to a chair, beaten, and interrogated by Chinese guards after they learned he had entered the U.S. embassy in Beijing last Friday.
As dinnertime came and went, he and his wife and two young children, who had traveled to Beijing, had nothing to eat. Their 6-year-old daughter began crying from the hunger pangs. “I kept asking the hospital personnel for some food, but it never came. I asked many times.” Finally, around 9 p.m., some food was sent in after friends contacted American officials for help.
But Chen says his numerous attempts to reach the U.S. embassy directly during those dark hours failed: “I tried to phone the embassy three or four times last night, but nobody answered.” As of Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Beijing time, he said he has had no contact with American officials since after he entered his hospital room.
At the embassy, Chen said he came under tremendous pressure from American officials—“not those from the embassy but others “—to leave the diplomatic facility as quickly as possible.
From the very beginning, he said, the assumption was that he would stay in China. “I had no information, I got no phone calls from friends, I was isolated,” he told me, his voice trembling. “Then I heard about the threat that my wife would be sent back home to Shandong if I didn’t leave the embassy. So I left.”
He told me there was no explicit threat that she would be submitted to physical violence, “but nobody had to say it, I know what we’ve experienced all these years back in Shandong. Our home was surrounded by guards, lots of guards. Our friends weren’t allowed to visit. If we tried to go out we’d be beaten, often with clubs.” Security personnel had even escorted his young daughter to and from school; Chen and his wife hadn’t seen their son for two years before their reunion at the hospital.
Human-rights activists are now extremely worried about Chen’s fate, and some are astonished at this startling—and dark—turn of events....
Cue John Huntsman and the white horse.