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May 21st, 2012
09:46 AM ET

Rep. Smith: 'Chances are slim' that Chen will return to China in the 'immediate term'

Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng arrived in the United States Saturday, ending the diplomatic firestorm between the United States and China that erupted when Chen spent six days in the U.S. Embassy after escaping house arrest.

Chen and his family will live in Greenwich Village in Manhattan while he studies law on a fellowship to New York University.

Representative Chris Smith, who played a key role in bringing Chen to the United States, sits down with Starting Point this morning to discuss Chen's ordeal and to explain what's next for the activist.

While Smith says that Chen looked good when he arrived in America, he asserts that the activist is "very weak" and has been through both physical and emotional trauma.

Echoing concerns about the safety of Chen's extended family, Rep. Smith says that they are at "grave risk" in China and that "an extra layer of protection" will need to be available for Chen himself, despite the fact that he is now in the United States.

Regarding the prospect that Chen will return to China, Rep. Smith says that "in the immediate term, the chances are slim that he'll go back," because he'd be put back the cross hairs of the brutal Chinese dictatorship.

Filed under: Chen Guangcheng
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