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U.S. Confirms Activist On Board Plane Leaving China

Chen Guangcheng (center) shakes hands with U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke (right) in Beijing on May 2.
Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng is on his way by plane to the United States.

The U.S. State Department confirmed in a statement on May 19 that "Chen Guangcheng, his wife, and two children have departed China and are en route to the United States so he can pursue studies at an American university."

Chen has an invitation to study law at New York University.

He earlier on May 19 confirmed to the media that he was at Beijing's international airport expecting to fly to the United States, though he was not sighted by reporters.

Chen had been at a Beijing hospital since he left the U.S. Embassy in the Chinese capital, where he had sought refuge for several days.

Chen, whose case raised tensions between Washington and Beijing over China's human rights record, was an active critic of abuses under China's one-child policy.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

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