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Blind Chinese activist seeking book deal

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NEW YORK (AP) - Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng is planning to write a book about his life and his quest for human rights in his native country.

Chen had three goals, his spokesman Matt Dorf said Thursday: to spread his message for greater freedom in China, to help support his family and to raise money to contribute to human rights organizations.

"He is very much looking forward to telling his story," Dorf, managing partner of the Washington-based Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications, told The Associated Press.

Dorf said Chen had not started the book, which will be translated from Mandarin, but was hoping to meet with publishers "as soon as possible, within weeks, not months."

Chen will be well represented. Washington attorney Robert Barnett, whose clients include President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, will handle negotiations.

Chen, 40, was imprisoned for seven years by provincial officials until a dramatic escape in April from house arrest in his rural village.

He and his wife were detained without charges in 2005 after he angered local officials by documenting complaints about forced abortions. He was later tried on a charge of obstructing traffic and damaging public property, sent to prison, and then put under extrajudicial house arrest again after his release.

He escaped his guards on April 22, breaking his foot in the effort, and sought refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing, just before Clinton arrived in China for high-level diplomatic discussions. Chen has said he was unaware at the time that Clinton was coming to China.

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