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Chen Guangcheng, Chinese Activists, To Fly To US

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CHEN GUANGCHENG
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Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng is at the airport in Beijing and is expected to be allowed to fly to the US on Saturday.

The activist, who is blind, has been at the centre of a diplomatic storm in recent months, which threatened to increase tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Having escaped from house arrests in Shandong province in late April, the dissident, who has been highly critical of the Chinese regime, spent six days at the US Embassy.

On 2 May he left US protection, saying he wanted to stay in China. Chen then asked for passage to the US, as his family were being harassed by Chinese authorities.

According to AFP, Guangcheng has been offered a place at New York University where the self-taught lawyer intends to study.

According to the BBC, activist group China Aid, which is based in the US, heard from Chen early on Saturday morning. He told them he and his family were being allowed to leave

China Aid said that Chen had been “informed to pack up and get ready to leave”.

Chen then spoke to the Associated Press by phone from Beijing Airport.

He said: "Thousands of thoughts are surging to my mind." According to AP, Chen's family are with him and are awaiting their passports.

Chen also spoke to Reuters by phone. He said: "I'm at the airport now. I've already left the hospital. But there are many things that are still unclear.

"Yes, I might be heading for a flight to the United States, but I haven't been told, and I haven't received our passports, so I'm not sure yet. We're waiting to find out what's happening."

The US state department has already issued visas for Chen and his family.

More to follow…

Around the Web

Chen Guangcheng | World news | The Guardian

China's Chen Guangcheng 'set to fly to US'