Chinese activist Chen lands in US
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A blind Chinese legal activist who escaped house arrest, endured a nearly month-long diplomatic tussle and a hurried daylong flight paused ever so briefly upon his arrival in New York City before taking up a familiar fight.
Taken from a hospital in his homeland and put on a plane for the US after Chinese authorities suddenly told him Saturday to pack and prepare to leave, Chen Guangcheng embraced his new surroundings at New York University and renewed his call to fight injustice.
"I believe that no matter how difficult the environment nothing is impossible if you put your heart to it,'' he told a cheering crowd at NYU shortly after arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport on Saturday evening. "We should link our arms to continue in the fight for the goodness in the world and to fight against injustice. So, I think that all people should apply themselves to this end to work for the common good worldwide.''
Chen was suddenly allowed to leave China Saturday, ending a dispute that tested US-China relations. Chen was greeted with cheers when he arrived at the apartment in Manhattan's Greenwich Village where he will live with his family. The complex houses faculty and graduate students of New York University, where Chen is expected to attend law school.
"For the past seven years, I have never had a day's rest,'' Chen said through a translator, "so I have come here for a bit of recuperation for body and in spirit.''
Chen thanked the US and Chinese governments, along with the embassies of Switzerland, Canada and France. "After much turbulence, I have come out of Shandong,'' he said, referring to the Chinese province where he was under house arrest. The US has granted him partial citizenship rights, he said.
The departure of Chen, his wife and two children to the US marked the conclusion of nearly a month of uncertainty by local authorities for the self-taught activist. "Thousands of thoughts are surging to my mind,'' Chen said before he left China. His concerns, he said, included whether authorities would retaliate for his negotiated departure by punishing his relatives left behind.