Chinese dissident seeks way out of Beijing hospital

Chinese dissident seeks way out of Beijing hospital

Chinese dissident seeks way out of Beijing hospital

Chinese activist Chen (L) chats with US envoy to China Gary Locke as they leave the US embassy for a hospital. AP photo

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng told Agence France-Presse yesterday that he was still in a Beijing hospital but had asked government officials to help him apply to go abroad.

 “Now I have notified the hospital to invite them (government officials) to help me do the procedures. I really don’t have a way,” he said by telephone, adding his injuries and limits on his movements had confined him to hospital.

China’s foreign ministry said on May 4 that he would be allowed to apply to study abroad, signaling then-visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had secured a deal with the Chinese government.

Chen is at the center of a major diplomatic wrangle between China and the United States after he dramatically escaped harsh house arrest in the eastern province of Shandong and sought refuge at the U.S. embassy in Beijing. He was escorted to the hospital by U.S. officials May 2 after being holed up inside the embassy for six days, but later had a change of heart, saying he wanted to leave China for his safety.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Chen said his foot was in a plaster cast which made it difficult for him to leave the hospital to carry out the necessary procedures to leave the country.

 But he added his friends had been barred from visiting and U.S. diplomats had only been allowed to see his wife, who was with him in the hospital. “They (U.S. diplomats) have come, but they can’t see me,” he said. Vice President Joe Biden also said yesterday the United States was ready to give Chen a visa “right away.”