BEIJING - The US law professor who has advised Chen Guangcheng says that the blind Chinese activist may go to the United States "soon", as Washington waits to see if Beijing honours a deal to let him leave.
Chen is at the centre of a major diplomatic wrangle between China and the United States after he dramatically escaped harsh house arrest in the eastern province of Shandong and sought refuge at the US embassy in Beijing.
He left the diplomatic mission on Wednesday after being holed up inside for six days, but later had a change of heart, saying he wanted to depart for the United States for his safety and that of his wife and two young children.
China's foreign ministry said on Friday that he would be allowed to apply to study abroad, signalling then-visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had secured a deal with the Chinese government.
Chen, 40, a self-taught lawyer, is believed to still be in a Beijing hospital being treated for injuries sustained during his escape from his village home, where he says he was kept under constant surveillance and beaten.
"It's conceivable he could be here quite soon," Jerome Cohen, a New York University law professor who is a friend and adviser to Chen, told AFP by telephone from his US home.
"I'm hoping it's a done deal. I was very excited when I saw the announcement by the foreign ministry spokesman on Friday afternoon," he said.
"That's an open signal that they are prepared to let him come abroad for a period of study," said Cohen late Saturday, who spoke to Chen twice before he left the US embassy but not since.
|Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng
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