4 May 2012

China eyes possible solution to blind dissident

9:43 pm on 4 May 2012

China says the prominent dissident, Chen Guangcheng, can apply to study abroad, potentially indicating a way out of the diplomatic crisis he has triggered for both China and the USA.

A foreign ministry statement says Mr Chen could "apply through normal channels in accordance with the law".

Mr Chen fled house arrest last month and spent six days inside the US embassy.

He left, and is now in a Beijing hospital but says he wants to go to the US with his family.

His case has overshadowed high-level US-China talks taking place in Beijing.

United States secretary of state Hillary Clinton has told the Chinese president Hu Jintao that relations between their two countries are the strongest they had ever been, despite the spat over the blind dissident.

Mrs Clinton says China and the US have developed a very open and honest relationship where they can discuss differences.

She says the countries' leaders remain committed to bridging those differences whenever and wherever possible.