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China Demands U.S. Apologize over Chen Guangcheng

On May 2, 2012, Xinhua issued a brief report saying that Chen Guangcheng “entered the U.S. Embassy in China in late April. He left the U.S. Embassy of his own volition after staying there for 6 days.” No other information was mentioned regarding how Chen’s escaped last week from his village home in Linyi in Shandong Province. Chen had been under house arrest since his release from prison in September 2010, after serving his full sentence of four years and three months. The authorities said he "damaged property and organized a mob to disturb traffic." Since 2005 Chen has been receiving increased international attention because of what he actually did. Chen organized a class-action lawsuit against Chinese authorities in Shandong for excessive enforcement of China’s one-child policy (including forced abortions and sterilizations).

In a separate report on May 2, 2012, Xinhua quoted Liu Weimin, China’s foreign affairs spokesperson, who told the U.S. that China demanded an apology. “I would like to emphasize that the U.S. Embassy in China has the obligation to comply with international law and Chinese law and cannot engage in activities inconsistent with its function. China absolutely will not accept this U.S. interference in China’s internal affairs, and demands that the U.S. apologize over this, conduct a thorough investigation of the incident, discipline the personnel involved, and ensure that no similar events will ever occur again.” According to Xinhua, Liu further stated, “What the U.S. should do now is to stop continuing to confuse and to try in every way to quibble and to cover up its own responsibility in this matter. Moreover, it should not continue to interfere in China’s domestic affairs. It should, instead, responsibly and seriously learn from this incident, truly reflect on its policies and approaches, and adopt measures to safeguard the Sino-U.S. relationship.“

On the same day, U.S. Secretary State Clinton issued a statement saying that she was pleased that the U.S. “was able to facilitate Chen Guangcheng’s stay and departure from the U.S. Embassy in a way that reflected his choices and our values.” Her statement further stated that “the United States government and the American people are committed to remaining engaged with Mr. Chen and his family in the days, weeks, and years ahead.”

Xinhua, May 2, 2012
Xinhua, May 2, 2012
U.S. Department of State, May 2, 2012