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US official says seeking to find out Chen's needs
US official says seeking to find out what Chinese activist wants, if his demands have changed
By The Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) ' A U.S. official says Washington is trying to help the blind Chinese activist who took refuge in the U.S. Embassy and then left under what the activist now says was pressure from the U.S.

The official, speaking on conditon of anonymity, said Thursday that the United States is seeking to learn what Chen Guangcheng needs. The official says further contacts with Chen his wife show that "his view of what the best thing for him and his family may be may be changing."

Earlier, U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke said Chen was never pressured to leave.



Chen left the embassy Wednesday. He initially said he had been assured he would be safe in China, but hours later he said he feared for his family's safety unless they are all spirited abroad.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

BEIJING (AP) ' The U.S. ambassador to China says the blind activist caught in a struggle between Washington and Beijing after taking refuge in the U.S. Embassy was not forced to leave the diplomatic building.

Gary Locke said at a news conference Thursday that he could say "unequivocally" that Guangcheng Chen was never pressured to leave.

After spending six days at the embassy, Chen left Wednesday to get treatment for a leg injury at a Beijing hospital. He initially said he had been assured that he would be safe in China, but hours later he said he feared for his family's safety unless they are all spirited abroad. He also said he felt pressured to leave.

Locke says Chen left the embassy after talking twice on the telephone with his wife, who was waiting at the hospital.


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