The Chinese authorities today allowed the quiet departure from a hospital in Beijing of human rights activist Chen Guangcheng.
He and his wife and children were then allowed to leave the country on board a US plane bound for America. New York university law school has offered him the position of “visiting scholar”.
The departure comes three weeks after the blind Chen made a dramatic escape from 19 months of house arrest in his village, and made his way to the US embassy in Beijing, after which the Chinese put him in hospital.
The embassy incident came as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was visiting China, and caused a major diplomatic row. Chen, a self-taught lawyer who angred the Chinese authorities in 2005 when he tried to pursue claims of forced sterilisation and abuses of power by local officials, says he intends to return to China.