China activist Chen Guangcheng arrives in America

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Chen Guangcheng has arrived at Newark Liberty airport in New York, a suitably named destination as when he lands and starts a new life in exile.

China and the US will want to put this diplomatic dispute behind them
China and the US will want to put this diplomatic dispute behind them Credit: YouTube

It's the first time Chen Guangcheng has experienced real freedom in almost 7 years.

He'd been jailed and then illegally detained after his campaigns against forced abortions angered the authorities. About four weeks ago the blind human rights activist managed a remarkable escape, slipping away unseen despite hired thugs watching his house in a village in eastern china around the clock.

Chen was taken to hospital in Beijing for treatment
Chen was taken to hospital in Beijing for treatment Credit: Reuters

His case caused a major row between Washington and Beijing, because after Chen's astonishing escape the US Embassy here gave him sanctuary. There was a drawn out diplomatic deal, Hillary Clinton was involved, she was here in Beijing for scheduled trade talks, those discussions were overshadowed by the argument over Chen's fate.

The result was this face saving compromise, allowing Chen, his wife and Children to leave, Chen has been allowed to study at a University in the States.

In the end the only way he could secure his safety was by leaving China.