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U.S. Didn’t Convey Any Chinese Threats to Chen, Nuland Says

May 2 (Bloomberg) -- No U.S. official passed on information about any physical or legal threats from Chinese authorities to dissident Chen Guangcheng, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

“Nor did Chinese officials make any such threats to us,” Nuland said.

U.S. interlocutors did make clear that if Chen elected to stay in the U.S. embassy in Beijing, where he sought refuge, Chinese officials had indicated that his family would be returned to Shandong and they would lose their opportunity to negotiate for reunification, she said.

“At no point during his time at the embassy did Chen ever request political asylum in the U.S.,” she said. “At every opportunity, he expressed his desire to stay in China, reunify with his family, continue his education and work for reform in his country. All our diplomacy was directed at putting him in the best possible position to achieve his objectives.”

The Associated Press reported that Chen said by phone that he now wants to leave China with his family. Chen said a U.S. official relayed a threat by Chinese authorities to beat his wife to death if he stayed in the U.S. embassy, according to the AP.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nicole Gaouette in Washington at ngaouette@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Terry Atlas at tatlas@bloomberg.net

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