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Listen to Blind Chinese Activist Chen Guangcheng Call Into Congress and Plead for Help

"I want to meet with Secretary Clinton." -- AP: China says he can apply to study in the U.S. State Dept.: "offered a fellowship from an American university."

Blind Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng (AP)

Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese activist who made headlines last week after escaping from house arrest, has been granted permission to apply to leave China and study in the U.S. -- a tentative deal that could end what turned into a high-profile diplomatic crisis.

Chen has made a series of public pleas for help and protection, including to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose visit to Beijing came just after his escape. On Thursday, he spoke live via cell phone to U.S. House members during an emergency hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

"I want to meet with Secretary Clinton," he said through a translator. "I hope I can get more help from her."

Chen said authorities had installed video cameras and an electric fence around his family's home.

"I am most concerned right now for the safety of my mother and brothers," he said.

Chen, a self-taught lawyer, had been kept under house arrest for years after exposing forced abortions and sterilizations in his community as part of China's population control tactics.

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