Blind legal advocate Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), his wife Yuan Weijing (袁伟静), and their two children arrived safely tonight in the United States. They were met at the Newark International Airport by representatives of the U.S. State Department and New York University, as well as China law expert Professor Jerome A. Cohen, a long-time friend of Chen’s and co-director of NYU’s U.S.-China Law Institute, where Chen will be a visiting fellow. Human Rights in China (HRIC) warmly welcomes Chen and his family and wishes them a peaceful and productive stay.
Chen’s arrival in the United States marks the end to a month-long ordeal that began with his escape on April 20 from this home village Dongshigu, Shandong Province, where he and his wife were kept under extralegal house arrest for 19 months following his release from prison in September 2010. With the help of supporters, Chen made his way to Beijing and, on April 26, sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy, just days before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was due to arrive in Beijing for the U.S-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. His flight and the ensuing tense negotiations between the U.S. and Chinese governments captured international attention. Chen left the U.S. Embassy on May 2. He had initially expressed a desire to remain in China but then, out of security concerns, requested to come to the U.S for a period of time to rest and study.
Chen, a self-taught “barefoot lawyer,” served a four-year-and-three-month prison term on trumped up charges after he helped inhabitants in Linyi, Shandong Province, file a class action lawsuit against the city over its policy of the enforced sterilization and late-term abortions.
For more information on Chen Guangcheng, see: