U.S. says Chen's paperwork is in order

May 16, 2012 at 12:18 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department says blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng's paperwork is in order for his arrival in the United States.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said it is now up to Chen and the Chinese government.

"We are ready when he and his government are ready," Nuland said Tuesday. "We have been for more than a week now in terms of his visa to come pursue his studies."

Chen ignited a diplomatic frenzy when he escaped house arrest and took refuge in the U.S. Embassy. He remains in a Beijing hospital room where he has been since leaving the embassy two weeks ago.

Chen, who is blind, has been invited to study at New York University, Nuland said.

The human rights activist called into a meeting Tuesday of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee. He said his family in eastern China is suffering reprisals for his actions.

"My elder brother was taken away by these thugs without any reasoning and then they came back and started beating up my nephew, and they used stakes and violently beat him up," Chen said.

His nephew, Chen Kegui, faces a charge of attempted homicide after an altercation with a local official. Chen's elder brother, Chen Guangfu, told CNN Wednesday that Chen Kegui was acting in self-defense.

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