Nightly News | May 04, 2012
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Now to that diplomatic drama in China playing out on the world stage. Today marathon negotiations led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have ended with a way out of this tense crisis for the White House . A blind Chinese dissident may soon be on his way out of the country, on his way to study at a university here in New York . We get the story tonight from our chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell .
ANDREA MITCHELL reporting: For 24 hours, Chinese police at Chen Guangcheng 's Beijing hospital blocked US officials from even seeing the blind dissident. Finally, just as the US - China summit was ending, an apparent breakthrough. Both sides eager to avoid an all out crisis.
Secretary HILLARY CLINTON (Secretary of State): Our embassy staff and our doctor had a chance to meet with him and he confirmed that he and his family now want to go to the United States so he can pursue his studies.
MITCHELL: A CT scan showed Chen has three broken bones in one foot, injured while scaling a wall to escape house arrest, but doctors say no other serious medical problems. Some Republicans still say the US was too quick to let Chen leave the safety of the US Embassy .
Former Governor MITT ROMNEY: And if those reports are true, that would be a very dark day for freedom.
Mr. CHEN GUANGCHENG:
MITCHELL: In a call to the Associated Press today, Chen said friends who tried to visit him in the hospital were beaten and his situation is still dangerous, worrying his supporters in the US.
Representative CHRIS SMITH (Republican, New Jersey): He should have been given more time in the embassy to really think through his options. But again, there was a hurry-up offense to get him out.
MITCHELL: Experienced diplomats say negotiating his exit was touch and go because Chen changed his mind about staying in China after being reunited with his wife and learning how his friends and family had been abused.
Mr. CHRISTOPHER HILL (Former US Ambassador): Emotions are running high on everybody's part. I think we have a person who's been in prison for four years, been under -- been under really intense surveillance for some months after that.
MITCHELL: If the deal holds, Chen and his immediate family will come to the US on a student visa, joining almost 107,000 other Chinese students now studying in the US. He plans to be at NYU in New York . But with Hillary Clinton scheduled to leave China tomorrow, State Department officials will be up all night tonight in case something still goes wrong. Brian :
WILLIAMS: Andrea Mitchell in our DC newsroom tonight. Andrea , thanks.