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Chinese activist heading to America

Chen Guangcheng sitting in a wheelchair as he is accompanied by US Ambassador to China Gary Locke at a hospital in Beijing on May 5. Credit: US Embassy

Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng has left hospital in Beijing and he is now on his way to the United States, according to Chinese rights groups, ChinaAid.

He left hospital in a convoy of unmarked cars and one van with blocked out windows.

Chen Guangcheng told Bob Fu, the president of ChinaAid, that he and his family "were informed to pack up and get ready to leave China".

US visa for Chinese dissent 'ready'

The US State Department said today that the U.S. side of preparing Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng's visa is complete and Chen is working with the Chinese government to get the proper travel documentation.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nulan said they had been in contact with Chen "two or three times a day":

We are ready when he and his government are ready...in terms of his visa to come pursue studies.

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Human rights lawyer: Chen Guangcheng's paperwork could be held up

Chinese human rights lawyer TangJitian has cautioned that Chinese authorities could easily hold up the paperwork todelay Chen Guangcheng leaving the country.

Mr Tang said:

"This notice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is positive news, but how it will play out we don't know.

"For instance, getting the approval for the paperwork to go, there are many potential pitfalls. We can't be 100 percent optimistic."

Hillary Clinton: 'We will continue engaging with the Chinese Government'

US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has been asked if her administration has bungled the handling of the Chen Guangcheng case, at a press conference in China.

Mrs Clinton responded by saying: "From the beginning all of our efforts with Mr Chen have been guided by his choices and our values."

She also confirmed that Mr Chen had told US ambassador to China, Gary Locke that he wanted to go to America to continue his studies.

Mr Chen has been offered a fellowship from an American university.

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng offered US university fellowship

The US State Department has said that Chen Guangcheng has been offered a fellowship from an American university.

Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said:

"Mr. Chen has been offered a fellowship from an American university, where he can be accompanied by his wife and two children.

"The Chinese Government has indicated that it will accept Mr. Chen's applications for appropriate travel documents.

"The United States government expects that the Chinese government will expeditiously process his applications for these documents, and make accommodations for his current medical condition.

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

– Victoria Nuland, spokeswoman for the US State Department
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