(AP) BEIJING - A blind activist said Wednesday that U.S. officials told him that Chinese authorities would have beaten his wife to death had he not left the American Embassy, where he sought sanctuary after fleeing persecution by local officials in his rural town.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, denied that the threat was issued but said Chen was told his family would be sent back home if he stayed in the embassy.
Speaking from the hospital room where he was taken after leaving the embassy, a shaken Chen Guangcheng said that U.S. officials told him Chinese authorities would send his family back home if he stayed inside. At one point, he said, the U.S. officials told him his wife would be beaten to death.
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"They said if I don't leave they would take my children and family back to Shandong," Chen told The Associated Press. He said he heard the death threat from an American official whom he could not identify.