HOLDING PATTERN

As Diplomats Talk, Chen Waits

US Embassy Beijing Press Office / AP Photos

Chen Guangcheng, stands with U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, right, and State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh, left, before leaving the U.S. embassy for a hospital in Beijing May 2, 2012.

How much longer? Blind human-rights activist Chen Guangcheng ticked off the hours Sunday from a Beijing hospital as Chinese and American diplomats continued to talk about when the dissident could leave for America. The 40-year-old activist has been mostly out of touch over the weekend and last spoke to Reuters Friday though his friends, and U.S. officials visited Chen Saturday. Journalists have been prevented from entering the Chaoyang Hospital building where Chen has been kept for treatment of a foot injury sustained in his dramatic escape from his home April 22. On Friday China’s Foreign Ministry said it would allow Chen to travel to the United States to study.