Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng is under US protection in the country’s embassy in Beijing, according to fellow activists.
Chen, under house arrest since 2010, is believed to have scaled a high wall to escape before being spirited hundreds of kilometres to the capital from Shandong province.
The US state department has refused to comment, but the issue could well overshadow the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Beijing next week.
ChinaAid founder Bob Fu claimed Chen had the chance to leave the country:
“After Chen Guangcheng walked free, he was offered the chance to go abroad for safety protection, but he was reluctant to do so, because he wants to fight to the end for freedom and basic rights.”
It is reported that Chen’s brother and nephew are now under arrest.
Chen campaigned against forced abortions and spent four-years in jail before being subjected to house arrest.