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Chen's Escape Shames Officials, but Breaks No Law

2 May 2012

Dissident lawyer Chen Guangcheng was being held under house arrest illegally, and his only offense in escaping may have been to embarrass local officials bent on punishing him for exposing forced abortions, said activists. Chen is now under the protection of US diplomats, and American and Chinese officials are deliberating his fate in hopes of reaching a resolution ahead of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s talks with Chinese leaders this week, his supporters said. Beijing could lay the blame for Chen’s detention on local authorities in rural Shandong Province as a way to save face.—AP