A blind Chinese human rights activist, Chen Guangcheng escaped from house arrest recently from his village of Shandong province. Reports suggest that Guangcheng has reached Beijing and may be in U.S. custody, under protection. American diplomat Kurt Campbell is in the country, some believe to negotiate the release of Guangcheng.
China's Communist Party faces a leadership transition this year, and is showing increasing concern about gossip over a foiled coup. The Liberation Army Daily, China's top military newspaper, has warned troops to ignore any rumors they hear and steel themselves for an "ideological struggle" as the Communist Party undergoes changes to its central leadership. Viv Marsh is the Asia-Pacific editor for our partner the BBC.
The highly secretive and authoritarian nation of Myanmar announced on state-controlled television that it would grant amnesty to 6,300 prisoners. The announcement, which did not specify whether prisoners of conscience would be included in the general amnesty, came only a day after a State Department official indicated that Washington would be open to improving relations with Myanmar's new military-backed government that came to power in March. The prisoner releases could begin as soon as Wednesday.