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Chinese Dissident Accuses Top U.S. Diplomat of Lying

Feb 27 , 2015

In April 2012, blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng escaped from house arrest in a rural village and sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. The ruling Chinese Communist Party was furious, and demanded that Chen leave the embassy. When U.S. officials negotiated with Chen to find a way for him to leave, he asked for a guarantee that his family — who had been routinely harassed and beaten by plainclothes government thugs — would be safe.

In a copy of Chen’s unpublished memoir, The Barefoot Lawyer, obtained by Foreign Policy, Chen details the promises U.S. officials made to him — and then broke. According to Chen, Kurt Campbell, the then-assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and the highest-ranking United States diplomat directly involved in the affair, said that he and then-American Ambassador Gary Locke would personally reunite the dissident with his family.

“‘I swear on my mother’s name, on the name of my children, in the name of God, that Ambassador Locke and I will go to get your family,’” Campbell told Chen inside the embassy, according to the dissident’s account. Campbell then asked Chen to make a statement “that the American government has been extremely helpful and that you completely trust us.”

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