US expects dissident Chen Guangcheng to leave China soon

Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng at in Beijing, 2 May Mr Chen initially said he wanted to stay in China, but changed his mind

The US says it expects China to allow prominent dissident Chen Guangcheng to travel abroad soon.

The US state department said Mr Chen had been offered a fellowship at an American university, and it would allow his wife and children to accompany him.

Earlier, Beijing said the blind activist could apply to study abroad - paving the way for a resolution to a tense diplomatic stand-off with the US.

Mr Chen fled house arrest last month and spent six days in the US embassy.

He left but now says he wants to go to the US with his family.

His case has overshadowed high-level US-China talks taking place in Beijing.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement that Mr Chen had been offered a fellowship from an American university - later identified as New York University (NYU).

She said Mr Chen could be accompanied by his wife and children, and that the US expected Beijing to process their application for travel "expeditiously".

"The United States government would then give visa requests for him and his immediate family priority attention," the statement added.

Start Quote

When Friday dawned it was unclear whether the US would help Mr Chen leave China - and whether China would allow him to go. Events moved quickly as the hours ticked by”

End Quote

Jerome Cohen, an NYU law professor who arranged the fellowship, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency: "It's a good way out for the Chinese government and our government and for Chen and his family."

Earlier, Xinhua news agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin as saying: "If he wishes to study overseas, as a Chinese citizen, he can, like any other Chinese citizens, process relevant procedures with relevant departments through normal channels in accordance with the law."

Following an annual strategic dialogue between the US and China, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was "encouraged" by the Chinese statement.

"Progress has been made to help him have the future he wants," she told a news conference in Beijing.

Mrs Clinton also confirmed that the US ambassador in Beijing had spoken to Mr Chen by phone on Friday, and that an embassy doctor had been able to visit him.

Media attack

The dissident is currently in a Beijing hospital, sealed off by Chinese police.

Mr Chen spent a week in the US embassy after escaping from house arrest for more than a year-and-a-half. He left the embassy on Wednesday after accepting China's assurances of his safety.

Clinton: "This is... about the human rights and aspirations of a billion people."

He later said that in view of the threats against his family, he had decided to leave the country.

He told the Associated Press news agency that his wife was being followed and filmed by unidentified men whenever she was allowed to leave the hospital.

China had earlier demanded an apology from the US for sheltering Mr Chen in its embassy.

One of China's main official newspapers, the Beijing Daily, accused the dissident of being "a tool and a pawn for American politicians to blacken China".

In another development, the Chinese authorities have told some foreign correspondents covering the Chen story they may lose their visas if they breach regulations again.

The police warning came after the journalists, thought to number about 20, were accused of entering the hospital where Mr Chen is being treated without permission.

Mr Chen, 40, is a lawyer who has campaigned against forced abortions and sterilisations of women under China's policy of one child per family.

The case has increasing political resonance in the US. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has said that if reports that Mr Chen had been persuaded to leave the embassy were true, it was "a day of shame for the Obama administration".


More on This Story

Chen Guangcheng


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Good, all the Chinese dissidents should go to US now. Americans will suport you. Welcome to go to america!

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Are you trying to be funny? I meant dialect in China. Or are you arguing that nothing recognised internationally bears any meaning? If "I'm right" is a good argument, there'd be far less trouble.
    Sorry to burst your bubble, but I did my schools in the UK. But hey, you seem to be good at guessing other things, wait, probably not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    This is a very strange turn of events. I honestly didn't think they'll let him out of the country after the epic escape.

    Very good for him that he was able to come out of all this unharmed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    #38 Powermeerkat
    ...................................US ...............China
    Population .............313 million .....1.35 billion
    GDP ....................15 trillion ........$13 trillion
    GDP growth ...........2.2% .............9.5%
    Military spending ....$550 billion ....$100 billion
    Military manpower ..1.5 million .....3 million

    US leading, China catching up fast.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.


    That's actually a pretty fair point, but I would contest that he was actually having his own rights violated in accordance to Chinese laws from what I've read. I doubt there is a law stating that someone's family can be beaten after one has already served their time. Again, I think you brought up a valid point in the grand scheme of things, but this just introduces a few new "shades of Gray"

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    My daughter with massive student loans, Bachelor and Master Degree in Education, laid-off from her job as a teacher because of gov't financial cuts to schools, has no medical insurance, tries to make money tutoring to pay her student loans while some Chinese dissendent will get a free ride in our country. I'm tired of my country shelling out help to an ungrateful world when we are in need of help.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    The best all around solution to this problem is to have a third country is to have a third country like Vietnam offer this Chen Guangcheng and his family political asylum. Unfortunately here in America, the Republicans can be expected to grandstand on this issue, saying that Barack Obama "caved in to the Chinese"!

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    The USA a defender of human rights! What a joke, the USA has no interest in freedom or human dignity as shown by it's actions but it does have an interest in gobal power. Chinas is a strategic rival to the USA, incidents like this can be milked for all they are worth and western media are happy to go along with it and make something out of nothing for propaganda purposes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    Very strange story. Successfully flees to US embassy, then leaves of own free will and then asks to go to USA.

    Does not make any sense to me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    Chinese Communist Party controls China not because of its citizens, but because of power and money. Corruption, cheating are too common in China. Does anyone know how much you have to pay for a job of Traffic Police in China? around 50k (pounds)

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    Well this is certainly a good story about good diplomacy for a good cause. Problem being there are about a billion more Chinese that want the same thing and now they’ll think if they run to the US embassy they will get it. As for passy's comment #36, I am an American taxpayer and I cannot think of a better way for my government to spend my tax dollars than on than liberty and justice for all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    Actually, I'm pretty sure China denied Chen's "going abroad to study" and instead made him choose between 4 Chinese Universities with him selecting Fudan uni in the end. True "freedom" for him is never going to happen- the government has people living in his house AND have installed 7 CCTVs to monitor all activity so pretty much, this whole "they will process his visa" thing is a big facade

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    Who believes anything that comes out of China anyway. Someday the Chinese people will rise up against the tyranny of their government.... I think it's time for a China Spring!!! The Government cannot silence or kill 1 billion people. All the best to Chen, his family and supporters. You are fighting for a worthy cause.... Never give up or back down.

    From Canada with love.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    "why this man?"
    Amongst many 'under siege'

    'State response' to 'head above parapet', draws attention to abuses wider than Chen first cause

    'Lucky, naive, unstable, or trouble-maker', progress cannot be left to depend on 'pure courage', especially when family also 'in line' for torture or persecution

    Even if 'anti-abortion' the US 'cause', democratic message will survive US 'reality'

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Can't help but feel the US government has been used as a pawn by this guy. Human Rights are a very contentious issue. Seems to me a Government, of whatever shade, is now having its right to govern/set laws, challenged by anyone who does not like the system. Think: Abu Qatada etc, Surely this is a course to anarchy??

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    @34, Northerncheeks
    No, the US and UK are not perfect, but that's why we're able to freely oppose our government without fear of reprisal. They won't sweep either you or me under the proverbial rug for our comments. Furthermore, people's responses on here are their own; they are not representing their country in any capacity. With that, yes, we are in a position to preach on others.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Does he have 2 children? Is that the reason he decided to fight for one child policy in China?

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    The USA should stand up to China and force them to deal with their Human Rights violations. Allowing people to run over here is WRONG APPROACH! Help by:

    STOP trading with them and address this issue with the UN for global economic sanctions.

    Remember Iran? Sanctions for what? Nuclear Weapons?
    what's more important - Human Rights violations or sovereign country right to build nuclear program?

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    ~31 powermeerkat

    Section 1021 of the National Defence Authorisation Act 2012 gives the US Army the power to arrest and hold US citizens without trial.

    The excuse is homeland security, but I wonder how long it will be until a US government is tempted to use this power to incarcerate its own dissidents.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Entropic Man : "As China overtakes the US"

    Entropy is increasing, with US economy accelerating while Chinese (export-based one) is significantly slowing.

    [please, check independent data or even Beijing regime's ones]

    And re PRC propaganda post:

    Indeed, only somebody indoctrinated at Politbureau-approved curriculum could claim that Tibetan, let alone Turkic are CHINESE dialects.


Page 10 of 12


More Asia stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.