PICKET: CNN Producer - Chinese censors 'blacking out CNN signals' during network's coverage of blind activist

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Steven Jiang, a Beijing based CNN producer tweeted on Tuesday at 8:35PM EST: 

“Chinese censors just began blacking out CNN signals during #ChenGuangcheng coverage- not a good sign.”

According to Jiang’s reports at CNN online: 

The Chinese activist who walked out of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on Wednesday after what officials said was a decision he had made on his own said Thursday that he regrets the move and now wants U.S. officials to help get him and his family to the United States.

“I want them to protect human rights through concrete actions,” Chen Guangcheng told CNN from his hospital room in Beijing. “We are in danger.

If you can talk to Hillary, I hope she can help my whole family leave China.”Chen was referring to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived Wednesday for trade talks and found herself in the middle of a diplomatic firestorm.

Last month, the 40-year-old blind, self-taught lawyer escaped house arrest in the eastern China province of Shandong and fled to Beijing, where he took refuge in the embassy for six days but left Wednesday for a hospital.

The Daily Beast’s Melinda Liu is reporting Chen wants to leave China with his family on Hillary Clinton’s plane and told the Daily Beast that American officials promised him that at least one of them would remain with him at the hospital. However, he was left to his own devices at the hospital. Additionally, Chen learned frightening news about his wife’s status after he left the U.S. embassy:

At the hospital, Chen’s fears mounted as his wife told him she’d been tied to a chair, beaten, and interrogated by Chinese guards after they learned he had entered the U.S. embassy in Beijing last Friday. 

As dinnertime came and went, he and his wife and two young children, who had traveled to Beijing, had nothing to eat. Their 6-year-old daughter began crying from the hunger pangs.

“I kept asking the hospital personnel for some food, but it never came. I asked many times.” Finally, around 9 p.m., some food was sent in after friends contacted American officials for help.

But Chen says his numerous attempts to reach the U.S. embassy directly during those dark hours failed: “I tried to phone the embassy three or four times last night, but nobody answered.” As of Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Beijing time, he said he has had no contact with American officials since after he entered his hospital room.

Although, originally media accounts of the story painted a positive picture of Chen’s exit from the embassy, it did not take long for other sources to emerge through Twitter as to what happened to the blind lawyer/activist after he left the U.S. embassy to the hospital. Chen and his wife now feel their lives are gravely in danger.

 

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About the Author
Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket, a former Opinion Blogger/Editor of The Watercooler, was associate producer for the Media Research Center, a content producer for Robin Quivers of "The Howard Stern Show" on Sirius satellite radio and a production assistant and copy writer at MTV.

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