29 Apr 2012

Chinese dissident under "US protection"

8:04 pm on 29 April 2012

A United States-based rights group says the blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng is under "US protection" in Beijing following his dramatic escape from house arrest.

The group, ChinaAid, also says high-level talks are under way between US and Chinese officials over his fate reports the BBC.

Earlier, fellow activist Hu Jia said Mr Chen was in the US embassy after scaling a high wall at his home before being driven hundreds of kilometres to the capital.

Mr Hu has now been taken into custody.

There are reports that Mr Chen's brother and nephew, and others who helped him escape, have now been detained by police.

The Chinese authorities have come under international criticism for their treatment of him. At one point his daughter was barred from school. Many sympathisers who have tried to visit his home say they have been beaten up.

A self-schooled legal activist, Mr Chen is known for revealing rights abuses under China's one-child policy and has accused officials in Shandong province of forcing 7000 women into abortions or sterilisations.