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May 09, 2012

Chinese Activist Says US Trip Paperwork is Ready

by VOA News

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng says all of the paperwork for his trip to the U.S. is ready, and that he is waiting to receive his passport from Chinese authorities.

Chen spoke with reporters Wednesday from a Beijing hospital where he is receiving medical treatment for injuries suffered during his escape from house arrest.

AP Reporter: "The U.S. paperwork has been done?"

Chen Guangcheng: "Yes. They told me that on the U.S. side, the formalities are completed."

AP Reporter: "What does it mean when you said the U.S. paperwork has been done? What kind of paperwork?" 

Chen Guangcheng:  "It means that the preparation is ready, like the invitation letter. The materials that the school needs to prepare, that's all done."

Chen says he is confident that China will allow him to leave the country under arrangements announced last week by Washington and Beijing. The self-taught lawyer, 40, has been offered a scholarship at the New York University of Law.

After fleeing house arrest, Chen spent six days at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, prompting complaints of "interference" by Chinese officials.

Chen originally agreed to a deal reached by U.S. and Chinese authorities that would allow him to stay in a "safe" place in China and study law. But he changed his mind hours after leaving U.S. protection, saying his family had been threatened.

On Friday, China's Foreign Ministry said Chen is free to apply to study outside the country.

Chen was given a four-year prison sentence in 2006 for exposing abuses under China's forced abortion policy aimed at population control. He had been under house arrest since 2010, before fleeing on April 22 to the U.S. embassy.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.