Beijing: Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has arrived in the United States.
United Airlines Flight 88 landed at Newark Liberty International Airport, outside New York City, on Saturday evening. Chen was accompanied by his wife and two children.
On Saturday morning, Chen was hurriedly taken to Beijing`s airport from the hospital where he`d been staying.
Speaking from New York University, where he will participate in a fellowship, Chen, 40, said: "I am very grateful to the assistance of the American embassy and the promise of the Chinese government for protection of my rights as a citizen over the long term.”
"I feel like everybody is very passionate," Chen said through his translator.
"I will say a few simple words to everyone here. After much turbulance. I have come out... Thanks to the assistance of many friends."
"Very grateful to other friends like France, who have called in their support. I am gratified the Chinese government dealt with situation with restraint and calm".
"I hope to see that they continue to open discourse and earn the respect and trust of the people," said Chen."I am very gratified to see the Chinese government has been dealing with the situation with restraint and calm."
However, he raised concerns about ongoing reprisals against his family.
"Acts of retribution in Shandong have not been abated and my rights to practice law have been curbed - we hope to see a thorough investigation into this," he said.
The activist further said that he had come to the United States for "recuperation in body and spirit".
After seven years of prison and house arrest, Chen escaped from his village in April and was given sanctuary inside the US embassy. Officials struck a deal that let Chen walk free, but he had second thoughts. That forced new negotiations that led to an agreement to send him to the US to study law at New York University.
According to the New York Times, Chen and his family said they did not know they were leaving the country until several hours before the flight.
It was only on their way to the airport that they learned where they were heading.
Their passports were delivered by Chinese officials shortly before the family got on the United Airlines plane.
The dramatic events surrounding Chen`s escape from house arrest and being granted refuge in the US embassy came just days before US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited China for a high-level bilateral strategic and economic dialogue.
After leaving the US embassy, Chen was admitted to a hospital for treatment to injuries suffered while scaling a wall as he had tried to escape from his home.
Initially, China had expressed anger over the US embassy granting him refuge. Chen created further rupture by openly pleading for asylum for him and his family.
In a statement, the US State Department praised the Chinese government and said: "We also express our appreciation for the manner in which we were able to resolve this matter and to support Chen`s desire to study in the US and pursue his goals".
(With Agencies’ inputs)