Update: Chen Guangchen arrived in New York City Saturday night. Story here.
ChinaAid’s Bob Fu made a phone call to Chen today. Chen told Fu at the time that a Chinese official informed them to pack up and leave for the U.S. today. However, the family had not received passports and do not have an itinerary.
Fox reports the U.S. State Department said visas had been prepared for the family.
ChinaAid said Chen and his family deeply appreciated the international community’s efforts for him and his immediate family’s freedom including Christians’ passionate prayers, two congressional hearings held by Rep. Chris Smith and the US government’s assistance.
:We thank the Chinese central government for fulfilling one of her commitments by facilitating Chen’s trip to the US,” Fu said. “We urge the international community to continue to monitor the situation regarding Chen Guangcheng’s extended family members including his nephew Chen Kegui and his elder brother Chen Guangfu as well as his sister-in-law Ren Zongju. They are all facing possible severe punishment as a result of Chen’s escape from his house last month.
The Institute on Religion and Democracy questioned why there has been so little coverage in the media about the Chen’s work.
IRD said Chen was called the “barefoot lawyer” because he practiced law with out a degree.
“Chen went from village to village in Shandong Province collecting testimonies of tens of thousands of women who had been rounded up and forced to be sterilized or have abortions, even in the eighth month of pregnancy, IRD said. “He exposed some 130,000 forced abortions that took place in one year in that one province and filed class-action lawsuits on behalf of the victimized families. As a result he was sentenced to over four years’ imprisonment. Since his release he and his family have been under strict surveillance at home.”