Chen Guangcheng, Chinese Activist, Gets Book Deal To Publish Memoir

LOS ANGELES, July 17 (Reuters) - Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, a blind dissident who left his country after seeking refuge in the U.S. Embassy, will publish a memoir next year, his publisher said on Tuesday.

In April, Chen made headlines worldwide when, days ahead of a diplomatic visit to China by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he escaped 19 months of house arrest and sought protection from the United States.

"This is an opportunity for me to share with the world the true conditions in China, especially in the vast stretches of rural China," Chen said in a statement from his publisher Times Books, a division of Macmillan.

Chen, 40, was born with a high fever that left him blind in infancy, and he grew up in great poverty. A self-taught lawyer, he hoped to defend himself and help others fight for civil rights in the villages outside China's modern cities.

For more than 20 years, he spoke out against government policies and, after bringing a lawsuit against China's one-child policy, was arrested and jailed in 2006.

Upon bring released about four years later, Chen was placed under house arrest in Linyi in eastern Shandong province, from which he escaped to seek refuge in the U.S. Embassy.

After days of diplomacy between the United States and China, he was allowed to travel to New York City to study law.

Times Books said it expects to publish Chen's memoir in fall 2013. (Reporting By Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)



Chen Guangcheng