The US and China forged a new solution to the dilemma surrounding Chen Guangcheng after an original deal fell apart, with a path open for the legal activist to study in the US. Chen has been offered a fellowship at an American university, and can be accompanied by his wife and two children, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.
China’s foreign ministry said Chen is free to apply to study abroad, and Nuland said the US expects Chinese authorities will “expeditiously process his applications.” The outline of the arrangement emerged after Chen changed his mind over a previous deal for him to remain in China and study law, saying he feared for his family’s safety. The prospect of Chen’s departure to the US may help limit any political damage to President Barack Obama, with Republican lawmakers threatening a probe of whether Chen was pressured to leave the embassy.
“Over the course of the day, progress has been made to help him have the future that he wants and we will be staying in touch with him as this process moves forward,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is in Beijing for talks with Chinese leaders, said before the fellowship offer for Chen was announced.