How did Chen escape? The Chinese Communist Party clamped down on him as hard as it could. His house was surrounded by 66 guards working in three shifts, 22 guards every eight hours. His village was sealed off by yet more guards. His phone, computer, and television were confiscated. He was completely shut off from the outside world. Plus, he was sick and injured from all the beatings.
According to Pearl, Chen spent months on his back, pretending to be near death, so that his guards would relax their vigilance. Then, on April 22, with exquisite timing, he scaled a wall and ran for his life, taking several wrong turns and falling into a river because of his blindness. Pearl drove 20 hours to meet Chen and fooled the village guards into letting her in. She disguised herself as a courier. Then she drove Chen, still wet from his fall in the river, another eight hours to safety in Beijing. Their plan was so masterfully executed that the authorities did not realize Chen was gone for four days.
Chen Guangcheng with his family at a hospital in Beijing, China, on May 1, 2012. U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, James Brown, and Regional Medical Officer Wayne Quillin are also pictured. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]
According to Chen, U.S. officials quickly abandoned him shortly after this photo was taken:
When U.S. officials escorted him out of the U.S. embassy shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday [May 2nd], Chen thought he’d extracted a promise that at least one of them would stay with him at the hospital, he said. “Many Americans were with me while I checked into the hospital and doctors examined me. Lots of them,” he told me from his hospital bed, where he’s being treated for broken bones in one foot, an injury sustained when he fell after climbing a wall during his daring escape from house arrest late last month. “But when I was brought to the hospital room, they all left. I don’t know where they went.” The ordeal was all the more bewildering because Chen is blind and was hurt during his escape; he needs crutches or a wheelchair to move around.
Chen continued, telling The Daily Beast that he wants to leave the country on Hillary Clinton’s plane.
Frontpage: Thursday, May 3rd
- Bin Laden Documents Published: Several of the documents seized during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden were posted online by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point on Thursday, which show that the al Qaeda leader still hoped to pull off one big attack.
- Sen. Rockefeller: Investigate Murdoch: Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) asked to the British committee investigating News Corp. to look into whether the company had broken any American laws. Murdoch was censured earlier in the week by the British Parliament and declared not “fit and proper” to run News Corp.
- Chen: I Want to Leave with Hillary: Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, whose daring escape last week from house arrest is straining U.S.-Chinese relations, said Thursday that he wanted to leave his home country with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton is currently in China for a previously scheduled meeting on unrelated topics.
- Poll: Tie in Florida, Ohio: A new poll by Quinnipiac University found President Obama and the presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney virtually tied in the key swing states of Florida and Ohio, but Obama held onto a solid lead in Pennsylvania.
- Munch’s ‘Scream’ Sells for $119.9M: It’s not the most expensive painting in history, but Edvard Munch’s The Scream ranks up there as one of the few works of art to fetch a nine-figure sum. The painting was sold on Wednesday evening in New York to an anonymous buyer who will pay $119.9 million for the masterpiece.
Photo: Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ was sold on Wednesday in New York for a staggering $119.9 million. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) More of the world’s most expensive art.