On Saturday, Chen Guangcheng, who has spent two weeks in a hospital in Beijing after escaping de facto house arrest in Shandong Province and then seeking refuge in the U.S. Embassy, is reportedly at Beijing Airport preparing to fly to the U.S. From the AP:
Chen Guangcheng told The Associated Press that he has left the hospital where he’d been staying and is at the Beijing airport. He expects to leave for the U.S. later Saturday.
He says his wife and two children are with him, but that they do not yet have their passports. Also with him are hospital and border control staff.
Chen escaped illegal house arrest in his rural town last month and sought the protection of U.S. diplomats. He had been awaiting permission to travel to the U.S. to study.
From the Twitter account of ITV’s Beijing correspondent Angus Walker:
#Chen left hospital in convoy of unmarked cars and one van with blocked out windows
— Angus Walker (@anguswalkeritv) May 19, 2012
And from NBC’s Adrienne Mong:
Lots of western media at Beijing airport: crews just scrambled to get a shot of luggage they think belongs to #ChenGuangcheng and family.
— Adrienne Mong (@adriennemong) May 19, 2012
Chen is expected to travel to New York, where he has been offered a scholarship at New York University Law School.
Read more about Chen’s escape from house arrest, his stay in the U.S. Embassy, and the mistreatment of his extended family by local Linyi officials. Read all of CDT’s coverage of Chen over the past five years.