Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng is in New York City Monday after departing from his homeland over the weekend.
Chen, whose plane arrived late on Saturday, will be staying with his family in an apartment at New York University, where he will be studying law.
Chen took refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing last month, sparking weeks of tense negotiations between the Chinese government and U.S. officials. He was being persecuted by his government for speaking out about forced abortions.
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, called the legal activist a "courageous man."
"He's very gentle and very tough at the same time," Smith told AP Television News. "His cause, which is defending women from the crime of forced abortion, has not had enough focus in the world community."
Chen said he is thankful to the United States for its intervention and that he plans to spend time recuperating.
"For the past seven years, I have never had a day's rest, so I have come here for a bit of recuperation in body and spirit," he said.