“Chinese Activist to Receive Passports in 2 Weeks”

People have been watching closely as the Chinese government slowly moves forward on allowing Chen out of the country, and the latest via VOA sounds promising:

Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng says he and his family will be issued passports to leave the country within the next two weeks.

Chen told Western reporters Thursday that Shangdong provincial security officials brought visa applications for him and his family to fill out the day before, and that passport photos were taken. On Wednesday, Chen discussed the issue in an interview with VOA’s Mandarin Service.

“Today I applied for a passport. Today I filled forms out,” Chen told VOA. “[They] said within 15 days [I will receive my passport].”

Once Chen and his family receive the passports, they can travel to the United States, where he has been offered a fellowship by New York University.

Officials in Shangdong province have charged Chen Guangcheng’s nephew, Chen Kegui, with attempted homicide after he allegedly attacked local officials who broke into the elder Chen’s house after his escape.

The advocacy group Chinese Human Rights Defenders says it learned that Chen Guangcheng’s brother, Chen Guangfu, was tortured by authorities shortly after the other man’s escape.

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