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Dissident's family allowed passports for U.S. trip

June 8, 2013 at 2:13 PM

BEIJING, June 8 (UPI) -- The mother and brother of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng say they hope to visit him in the United States now that they have received passports.

They must now apply for U.S. visas, The New York Times reported.

Chen Guangfu told the Times he and his mother, Wang Jinxiang, have not yet decided on the timing of their trip.

He said the final decision will be made after he, his mother and brother review their financial resources.

"I was very surprised to receive the passports today," he said Friday.

Chen Guangcheng, who spent time in prison after being charged with property destruction and blocking traffic, escaped from house arrest last year. He took shelter in the U.S. Embassy and was eventually allowed to leave.

He is living in New York and plans to attend law school at New York University.

The passports arrived as Chinese President Xi Jinping met with U.S. President Barack Obama at a retreat in California.

In another conciliatory move, Hu Zhicheng, a Chinese-born businessman who had become a U.S. citizen, was allowed to return home from China, five years after his departure was blocked because of a dispute with a business partner.

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