The State Department confirmed this morning that it’s reached a deal with the Chinese government in the case of blind dissident Chen Guangcheng:
The Chinese Government stated today that Mr. Chen Guangcheng has the same right to travel abroad as any other citizen of China. Mr. Chen has been offered a fellowship from an American university, where he can be accompanied by his wife and two children.
The Chinese Government has indicated that it will accept Mr. Chen’s applications for appropriate travel documents. The United States Government expects that the Chinese Government will expeditiously process his applications for these documents and make accommodations for his current medical condition. The United States Government would then give visa requests for him and his immediate family priority attention.
This matter has been handled in the spirit of a cooperative U.S.-China partnership.
The statement says Chen has been offered a fellowship at an “American university,” but notably doesn’t mention which one yet. Obviously, the details are still being hammered out. But the deal sounds like a good one for all sides. Not only was the Chen case a public relations disaster for the Obama administration, it also put the Chinese government’s human rights abuses in the international media spotlight. Both had an incentive to end this story as quickly as possible. And it sounds like it will be a happy ending for Chen and his family, who will be able to take time in the U.S. and decide what they want to do on a permanent basis.