OK, here's the fullest account yet of what happened this week in re the Chen Guangcheng affair; how he agreed to leave the Embassy, how he changed his mind at the urging of friends and activists, how he and they campaigned for a change of course, and how the issue was apparently resolved by a communque from the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry that he could apply to leave 'like any other Chinese citizen', ie an assurance that he wasn't on any government shitlist.
We'll have to see what that's worth, but there are certain aspects of Beijing's behaviour over this that bear study. When Chen left for the hospital he and his family were isolated by security personnel and the journalists following him were kicked out of the place. Many were later summoined to the PSB and warned that they might be thrown out of the country. Chen was also denied access to Embassy staff who tried to visit him, though they did let the Embassy doctor through. Viewers in the UK, at any rate me, were treated to TV footage of a thick envelope of thuggy plainclothes DSD types with buzz cuts shoving their fat paws in camera lenses.
But inside the hospital, Chen was permitted extensive phone communication with friends and fellow activists, both inside and outside China. He was allowed to talk to embassy officials by phone and at one stage to talk liove to a US congressional session. He used every opportunity possible to plead for the US to grant him and his family asylum. The people guarding him could have stopped this at any time but chose not too, which seems to indicate that they too want him gone.
Elsewhere in the Sinosphere, a handy guide to crashing your nearest foreign diplomatic compound is doing the rounds.