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Chen Guangcheng May Soon Have Passport, Be Able to Leave China

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2012 May 17
  • Comments

Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng has reportedly completed passport applications and has been told by Chinese officials that passports will be issued to him and his immediate family within two weeks -- which would then allow him to come to the United States, NPR reports. The blind activist, who spent six days in the U.S. embassy last month after fleeing house arrest, said officials helped him fill out the forms on Wednesday at the Beijing hospital where he is staying and being treated for a foot injury suffered during his escape. Chen wants to leave China because he fears for his family's safety, and he has been offered a fellowship at a U.S. university. The 41-year-old self-trained lawyer was imprisoned and tortured for more than four years for fighting China's one-child policy and exposing more than 100,000 forced abortions, then held under house arrest for 20 more months before escaping April 22. "I want to extend my gratitude and thankfulness to all those who care and love my family and myself and our situation," Chen said through a translator via phone to a House congressional panel on May 15. "I'm not a hero. I am just doing what my conscience asks me to do. I cannot be silent. I cannot be quiet when facing this evil against women and children. This is what I should do."