September 1, 2014
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MAY  21, 2012 ARCHIVED STORIES:

NEW YORK (BP) -- Chinese human rights advocate Chen Guangcheng arrived in the United States Saturday (May 19) with his wife and two children, beginning a new chapter of freedom despite ongoing concern for his family in China.

With little notice, Chen boarded a plane in Beijing en route to Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey, where CNN reported he arrived to little fanfare after the U.S. State Department prohibited public and media access.

'America welcomes this extraordinary family with open arms.' -- Rep. Chris Smith
Chen spoke hours later to numerous reporters and onlookers at New York University, where he has been granted a fellowship to study law. There, Chen indicated through a translator that he had received partial U.S. citizenship rights, CNN said, and he asked people to help him "promote justice and fairness in China." He expressed mixed feelings about seeking refuge in the United States, CNN said, because of unfinished business in his home country.

The 40-year-old self-trained lawyer, blind since childhood, was imprisoned and placed under house arrest for exposing the barbaric nature of China's one-child policy. In one of the most tragic examples Chen had helped uncover, the government forced a woman who was seven months pregnant to have an abortion and forcibly sterilized her, LifeNews.com reported.

Rep. Chris Smith, R.-N.J., a longtime champion of Chen's cause, met with him upon Chen's arrival in New Jersey.

"After years of enduring physical and psychological torture, imprisonment and hate, the man, Chen Guangcheng, who defended Chinese women from the crime of forced abortion, is finally free," Smith said in a statement. "America welcomes this extraordinary family with open arms."

Bob Fu, president of the Texas-based China Aid Association, received a phone call from Chen just after Chinese authorities told him to pack for travel to the U.S. Read More

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