BEIJING — Local and overseas activists said Saturday that the U.S. and Chinese governments were locked in delicate diplomatic negotiations over the fate of Chen Guangcheng, the blind lawyer who fled from house arrest last Sunday and is thought to be in Beijing under U.S. protection.
Those negotiations could be complicated by what activists in Beijing say is the dissident’s desire not to seek political asylum in the United States but to remain in China to continue his campaign for democratic rights and the rule of law.
“He believes that China is in a period of intensive changes now, and it’s not far away from the final fundamental change,” said Hu Jia, a Beijing activist who said he met with Chen on Wednesday. “He told me he didn’t want to ask for political asylum in the U.S. Instead, he wants to ‘stay in this land and continue to fight.’ ”
U.S. foreign policy experts said that would put the United States in an unenviable diplomatic position on the eve of annual meetings on strategic and economic matters. They noted that although American diplomats have repeatedly urged senior Chinese officials to end abusive treatment of Chen, the Obama administration would not want to be drawn into negotiating the terms of Chen’s living conditions in China, which Chinese officials would likely see as interference in their internal affairs.