Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng says he does not expect any trouble from Beijing when he applies for permission to travel to the United States with his family.
The Reuters news agency said that during a phone interview Monday, Chen said he does not know when he will leave China, but that “it shouldn’t be too long.”
Chen spoke from a Beijing hospital where he is being treated for injuries sustained during his escape from house arrest two weeks ago. The report quoted him as saying he is “feeling much better.”
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday the blind dissident’s future is in the United States, and that the U.S. is ready to give Chen a visa right away.
Mr. Biden said Washington expects China to stick to its commitment to allow Chen to take up a fellowship offer at New York University.
China’s foreign ministry on Friday said that Chen can apply to leave the country to study, “just like any other Chinese citizen.”
The announcement followed a series of appeals by Chen, who said he is worried about his safety and wants to travel to the U.S. “for a time.”
Chen originally agreed to a deal reached by U.S. and Chinese authorities that would allow him to stay in a “safe” place in China and study law. But he changed his mind hours after leaving U.S. protection, saying his family had been threatened.
Chen is a self-taught lawyer and human rights activist who has been blind since childhood. He was given a four-year prison sentence in 2006 for exposing abuses under China’s forced abortion policy aimed at population control. He had been under house arrest since 2010, before fleeing on April 22 to the U.S. embassy.