Passport for China activist in 15 days

Passport for China activist in 15 days

Blind activist Chen Guangcheng said on Thursday China had agreed to issue him a passport within 15 days, allowing him to go to the United States, after a bitter row between Beijing and Washington.

It was the first indication of when Chen would be allowed to leave the country since he left the US embassy more than two weeks ago after seeking refuge there following his dramatic escape from house arrest.

Speaking to AFP by telephone from the hospital where he is being treated, Chen also said authorities had promised to investigate murder charges brought against his nephew that he has said are motivated by revenge for his escape.

“Officials visited yesterday, we filled out passport application forms for my myself, my wife and children,” said the 40-year-old legal campaigner, who triggered a diplomatic crisis when he fled to the US embassy last month.

“They said the passports should be issued within 15 days,” he added. The couple have a nine-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter.

Chen, one of China’s best-known dissidents, has won plaudits for exposing rights abuses including forced sterilisations and late-term abortions under China’s “one-child” family planning policy.

Wednesday’s meeting with government officials was his first since May 7.

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