Dissident Chen enjoys first taste of freedom in New York but fears for relatives

  • @cliffordcoonan

After his sudden departure from Beijing, the Chinese rights activist Chen Guangcheng enjoyed his first moments of freedom in New York yesterday after years of jail and house arrest.

However, on arrival in the US with his wife and two children, the activist resumed his call to fight injustice and said he feared for his relatives and supporters still in China.

"We should link our arms to continue in the fight for the goodness in the world and to fight against injustice. So, I think that all people should apply themselves to this end to work for the common good worldwide," he told a crowd at New York University.

Mr Chen has been at the centre of a diplomatic standoff between China and the US since his escape last month from 19 months of house arrest in Shandong province in eastern China, and his subsequent six-day stay at the US embassy in Beijing. He spent the past two weeks in hospital after breaking a foot during his escape.

New York University offered Mr Chen a study fellowship, providing a diplomatic solution to the row.

The Xinhua news agency issued a brief report saying Mr Chen "has applied for study in the United States via normal channels in line with the law".