Chinese blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng and his family were allowed to leave Beijing on a plane headed to the U.S. on Saturday, indicating that a diplomatic impasse between the two countries may be over.

Chen's journey from house arrest to his daring escape to a U.S. embassy last month caused tension between the U.S. and China, just as Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and other high-level Obama administration officials flew to the country to improve the two nations' ties during the same week, Reuters reported.

Chen and his family are expected to arrive at Newark International Airport near New York City around 6 p.m. EDT, the New York Daily News reported.

According to the Daily News, he is planning to study at New York University. Reuters reported that New York University's law school had previously offered him a position as a visiting scholar, but it could not confirm if he will indeed study there.

Reuters reported that State news agency Xinhua said earlier that Chen had applied to study in the United States under legal procedures. Perhaps as a way to ease tensions over the standoff and safe face, China's Foreign Ministry said this month that Chen could apply to study abroad, a move seen as a way of easing Sino-U.S. tensions on human rights.