Blind campaigner evades about 100 guards to escape from
six-year detention but fears grow for family and supporters
Jonathan Watts Beijing
guardian.co.uk, Friday 27 April 2012 20.14 BST
A blind Chinese rights activist who made a daring escape from extrajudicial detention was on Friday under the protection of the US embassy in Beijing, according to a friend, as concerns were growing about possible retribution against his family and supporters.
After more than six years of jail and house arrest, Chen Guangcheng was said to have fled under cover of darkness, evading eight checkpoints and close to 100 guards who have been watching his home in the Shandong province countryside.
A photograph released on Friday night shows him with a friend and fellow activist, Hu Jia, who said Chen was under US protection. "It is my understanding that Chen is in the safest place in China. That is the US embassy," said Hu.