By Alicia M. Cohn - 05/19/12 01:54 PM EDT
The State Department confirmed on Saturday that Chen Guangcheng, the blind human rights activist whose case became a diplomatic crisis for the administration earlier this month, has left China and is on his way to the United States.
Chen has been offered a fellowship by New York University. The possible solution to the diplomatic stand-off was raised earlier this month but observers were uncertain China would allow Chen to leave the country.
Earlier this month, Chen fled house arrest and sought refuse in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. He left the embassy almost a week later protected by a deal between the U.S. and China that allowed him to take up residence with his family.
But Chen quickly changed his mind and asked for U.S. protection to leave the country, creating a dicey situation diplomatically for President Obama.
Chen said he intends to return to China in a few years but is taking "a leave of absence" from his activist causes, according to MSNBC.
Chen's United Airlines flight is scheduled to touch down in New Jersey sometime Saturday, according to reports.