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Group Says Escaped Chinese Activist Under U.S. Protection

Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng
A rights group says a Chinese dissident who escaped from house arrest is now under the "protection" of U.S. officials.

Citing a "source," the U.S.-based ChinaAid group said "high-level talks are currently under way between U.S. and Chinese officials" regarding Chen Guangcheng.

Chen, a blind lawyer who was jailed after uncovering a series of rights abuses, reportedly escaped from house arrest in Shangdong Province on April 22 and was said to have eventually found shelter at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

No official confirmation of the group's claims was available.

U.S. officials have declined to comment on Chen's whereabouts.

The case has emerged at a time when China and the United States are due to hold annual high-level talks next week in Beijing.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP