U.S. diplomats were relieved this weekend when China allowed a prominent dissident, Chen Guangcheng, to fly to New York with his family.
China, too, is presumably happy that Chen is no longer in the country doing his advocacy work. Chinese exiles tend to fade into obscurity when they leave the country, and Beijing might be counting on that to happen with Chen.
U.S. diplomats are breathing a sigh of relief Sunday after a human rights activist sheltered briefly by the U.S. embassy in Beijing was allowed to leave China and come to the United States. Chen Guangcheng arrived Saturday night with his wife and two children. He has a fellowship to study at New York University.
Chen appeared briefly before the cameras Saturday night in New York's Greenwich Village, where he will be living with his family and studying law.
Update At 7:47 P.M. ET. Chen Guangcheng Addresses A Crowd Outside New York University:
Addressing a crowd outside New York University, Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng said he was grateful to the U.S. Embassy staff in Beijing for providing him a "safe haven." Through an interpreter, he said he was gratified that the Chinese government was handling his situation with "restraint and calm" and thankful for the opportunity to leave China to study at NYU.
Chen said he hoped Beijing would keep its promise to protect the family he had left behind.
Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng and his family are due to arrive in Newark this evening after a surprise early-morning flight from Beijing. Host Guy Raz gets the latest from NPR's Michele Kelemen, who's been following the story.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
Chen Guangcheng, the blind, Chinese human rights lawyer, is on a plane headed for America right now, according to his friends and supporters. Chinese authorities gave Mr. Chen a passport today and drove him to an airport in Beijing. His departure caps a remarkable few weeks that included a daring escape from house arrest and high-stakes, diplomatic negotiations.
NPR's Frank Langfitt has been following the story from Shanghai. Frank, thanks for being with us.