Blind Chinese legal activist arrives in the US

 

A blind Chinese legal activist who was suddenly allowed to leave the country arrived in the US, ending a nearly month-long diplomatic tussle that had tested US-China relations.

Chen Guangcheng had been hurriedly taken from a hospital hours earlier and put on a plane for the United States after Chinese authorities suddenly told him to pack and prepare to leave.

He arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport and was whisked to New York City, where he will be staying.

Dressed in a white shirt and khaki trousers and using crutches, his right leg in a cast, Mr Chen was greeted with cheers when he arrived at the apartment in Manhattan's Greenwich Village where he will live with his family.

The complex houses faculty and graduate students of New York University, where Mr Chen is expected to attend law school.

"For the past seven years, I have never had a day's rest," he said through a translator.

"So I have come here for reparation in body and spirit."

Mr Chen urged the crowd to fight for injustice, and thanked the US and Chinese governments, and also the embassies of Switzerland, Canada and France.

"After much turbulence, I have come out of Shandong," he said, referring to the Chinese province where he was under house arrest. He spoke briefly and didn't take questions from reporters.

The departure of Mr Chen, his wife and two children to the United States marked the conclusion of nearly a month of uncertainty and years of mistreatment by local authorities for the self-taught activist.

After seven years of prison and house arrest, Mr Chen made a daring escape from his rural village in April and was given sanctuary inside the US Embassy, triggering a diplomatic stand-off over his fate.

With Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Beijing for annual high-level discussions, officials struck a deal that let Mr Chen walk free, only to see him have second thoughts.

That forced new negotiations that led to an agreement to send him to the US to study law, a goal of his, at New York University.

"Thousands of thoughts are surging to my mind," Mr Chen said before he left China. His concerns, he said, included whether authorities would retaliate for his negotiated departure by punishing his relatives left behind. It also was unclear whether the government will allow him to return.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: ICT Infrastructure Manager

£27000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Edinburgh city centre Scho...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant

£17900 - £20300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An enthusiastic Marketing Assis...

Recruitment Genius: Chef / Managers

£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This contract caterer is proud ...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'