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Clinton Arrives In China As Activist Case Looms

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in Beijing for talks with Chinese leaders, as the case of a blind dissident said to be under U.S. protection in the city threatens to overshadow talks.

Clinton had long planned to travel to China for the annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue on May 3 and May 4 to discuss fiscal matters and other issues, including tensions with North Korea and Iran, the crackdown in Syria, and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

But the fate of Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng is likely to feature on the agenda after he escaped from house arrest on April 22 and reportedly took refuge in the U.S. Embassy in the Chinese capital.

Chen has said his house arrest was punishment for speaking out about official abuses and that he and his family have suffered beatings.

Washington has refused to comment on Chen's case specifically, but Clinton told reporters before departing for China that all "pending" issues, including human rights, would be discussed.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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