Blind Chinese Activist Believed to be in US Custody
(BEIJING) -- The U.S. State Department is being tight-lipped on the whereabouts of blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, who escaped house arrest last week, but the organization that helped him escape says he's in the hands of U.S. diplomats.
Chen, a 40-year-old human rights activist who has campaigned for disabled rights and against forced abortions, scaled a wall and slipped past 100 security guards surrounding his house.
Bob Fu, the founder and president of ChinaAid, which aided Chen in his getaway, called the escape an "extraordinary adventure."
"He walked for hours from his own home in the middle of the night. He was wounded, wet, covered in mud. He swam across a river," Fu told ABC News.
Chen was picked up by supporters and driven to Beijing on April 23. Several friends hid him in different locations until his last host was able to reach out to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on April 27, Fu said.
"He's now 100 percent safe. He's still in China, inside some diplomatic building in the hands of U.S. diplomats," Fu said.
Fu said he is not able to discuss the details of Chen's whereabouts because negotiations are still in progress, but it is widely believed that he is in U.S. custody.
"Very high level diplomatic discussion between China and the U.S. is now in progress," Fu said.
If Chen is in U.S. custody, this would be the first time since 1989, when the United States took in student supporter Fang Lizhi during the Tiananmen Square protests, that the United States has taken in a human rights activist.
At a State Department briefing Friday, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland would not comment on the situation other than to say the United States has called for Chen's release in the past.
"As you know, we have spoken out about his case in the past," Nuland said.
Fu said the Chinese government is deliberating and will probably release a formal response Monday.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio