Washington: US Vice President Joe Biden said on Sunday that Chinese dissident Chen Guancheng could get a US visa “right away” and that his future is in America.
In an interview to a news channel, Biden said that China must keep its commitment and let Chen go abroad and take up a fellowship at New York University.
"I think his future is in America. He has an opportunity to go to NYU ... and we`re prepared to give (him) a visa right away. He`s going to be able to take his family," said Biden.
Biden’s comments make it clear that Chen could soon head to America also as the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday issued a statement allowing Chen Guangcheng to study abroad.
But the situation for Chen in China, may not be that rosy.
40-year-old Chen is reportedly confined in a hospital here, where he was admitted after being driven out by US Ambassador to China Garry Locke on May 02, after a week-long stay in the US mission.
Chen had made a plea for US protection from his hospital bed as he fears his situation is ``dangerous” there. He also revealed that American officials have been barred from seeing him for two days, adding that his friends who have tried to visit him have been beaten up.
Chen last week escaped his rural home where local officials had kept him under house arrest for years. He made it to the US embassy, where he stayed for six days before the US and China reached a deal that would allow him to stay in China but in a new location, as he had requested. But hours after leaving the embassy on Wednesday he said he and his family would not be safe unless they left the country.
A self-taught lawyer, the 40-year-old Chen became an international human rights figure and inspiration to many ordinary Chinese after running afoul of local government officials for exposing forced abortions and sterilizations carried out as part of China`s one-child policy. Until his escape last week, his nearly seven years in prison and abusive house arrest with his wife, six-year-old daughter and mother fuelled outrage and added to his stature — and in turn upped the stakes for Washington in helping him.
The issue has cast a shadow over this week`s visit to Beijing by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for talks intended to improve ties between the two countries.
On Friday, she told Chinese President Hu Jintao that the ties between the US and China were the strongest they had ever been.
But China has publicly ridiculed US meddling in the issue.
With agencies` inputs