Diplomats Feared Chen Had Cancer

    BEIJING, CHINA - MAY 2:  In this handout photograph provided by the U.S. Embassy Beijing press office, Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng (R) looks on as U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke (L) talks on the phone May 2, 2012 in Beijing, China. The U.S. had maintained silence after the activist fled to the U.S. embassy on April 26, but U.S. officials opened up over what they say had become a warm relationship with Chen as they negotiated for his safety.   (Photo by U.S. Embassy Beijing Press via Getty Images)

    U.S. Embassy Beijing Press / Getty Images

    A senior U.S. official told Foreign Policy Monday that personnel at the American Embassy in Beijing were worried that blind dissident Chen Guangcheng had advanced colon cancer when he arrived. Concerns about his health were so severe that officials sped up the timeline for Chen to leave the embassy and enter a Chinese hospital, the U.S. official said. Chen was found to be “bleeding profusely from his rectum,” the official said, and an embassy doctor’s diagnosis that Chen may have cancer “gave us a lot of anxiety.” According to the official, the Chinese would not allow medical equipment into the embassy where Chen took shelter after fleeing house arrest on April 22. It was reported Sunday that Chen has gastroenteritis.

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