Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng arrives in Taiwan

Mr Chen was asked whether he would be meeting President Ma Jing-Jeou

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Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng has arrived in Taiwan for an 18-day trip that is likely to anger Beijing.

Mr Chen, who arrived on Sunday, is expected to meet opposition lawmakers and discuss human rights in China.

The self-taught lawyer, who is blind, sparked a diplomatic row last year when he escaped house arrest and sought refuge in the US embassy in Beijing.

He was eventually allowed to travel to the US to pursue further studies.

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, although the island has been separately governed since 1949.

'Important treasure'

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Mr Chen thanked the Taiwanese public for their concern and support.

"I am impressed by the success of Taiwan's democracy. Taiwan should be proud of it," he said, adding that democracy was "an important treasure".

Mr Chen is scheduled to speak in parliament and meet members of the opposition and human rights groups.

His visit is being hosted by the Association for China Human Rights, which has described it as "a trip for freedom and human rights".

The group is linked to Taiwan's political opposition. Chaperoning Mr Chen will be many Taiwan democracy activists and individuals who have criticised China in the past, the BBC's Cindy Sui in Taipei reports.

According to AP news agency, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou is not scheduled to meet Mr Chen. Mr Ma has made improving the island's ties with China one of his key policies.

Mr Chen has been a fellow at New York University (NYU) since mid-2012. He is due to leave the university this month.

The self-taught lawyer, who had campaigned against forced abortions under China's one-child policy, has linked his departure to "unrelenting pressure" on NYU from Beijing - something NYU roundly denies.

NYU says Mr Chen's fellowship had always been expected to last a year at most, and that Mr Chen is in discussions with two other institutions about potential opportunities.

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