China dissident Chen says wants to leave for U.S.

BEIJING Thu May 3, 2012 7:08am IST

A handout photo from US Embassy Beijing Press office shows blind activist Chen Guangcheng (2nd L) shaking hands with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell (2nd R) as they stand with U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke (C), in Beijing, May 2, 2012. REUTERS/US Embassy Beijing Press Office/Handout

A handout photo from US Embassy Beijing Press office shows blind activist Chen Guangcheng (2nd L) shaking hands with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell (2nd R) as they stand with U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke (C), in Beijing, May 2, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/US Embassy Beijing Press Office/Handout

Related Topics

BEIJING (Reuters) - Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng wants to leave for the United States rather than stay in China, telling Reuters his safety cannot be assured under a U.S.-China deal that had persuaded him to give up refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

Chen left the embassy on Wednesday, where he had taken refuge for six days after escaping house arrest, appearing to be satisfied with a diplomatic solution which would have allowed he and his family to remain in China in better circumstances.

But Chen told Reuters on Thursday by phone from a Beijing hospital, where he was escorted by U.S. officials after leaving the embassy, that he had changed his mind after speaking to his wife.

Asked whether he now wished to stay in China or leave for the United States, Chen said: "Now I want to do the latter. That's what I hope."

"There are many reasons and considerations. The main one is that my rights and safety cannot be assured here," he added.

Chen, citing descriptions from his wife Yuan Weijing, said his family had been surrounded by Chinese officials who menaced them and inundated the family home.

"When I was inside the American embassy, I didn't have my family, and so I didn't understand some things. After I was able to meet them, my ideas changed."

Chen said he had still not had an opportunity to explain his changed ideas to U.S. officials.

"I hope the U.S. will help me leave immediately. I want to go there for medical treatment," he said.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by John Mair and Mark Bendeich)

FILED UNDER:

Politics

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Exit Polls

Exit Polls

BJP unlikely to form Jammu & Kashmir govt - polls.  Full Article 

Forceful Conversions

Forceful Conversions

BJP distances itself from religious conversions.  Full Article 

Photo

Fund Raising

Flipkart raises $700 million in fresh funding.   Full Article 

Reforms Push

Reforms Push

Modi may order insurance, coal reforms if vote delayed - officials.  Full Article 

Economic Pulse

Economic Pulse

Crank up public spending to revive growth - chief economic adviser.  Full Article 

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

India looks to sway Americans with nuclear power insurance plan  Full Article 

Down Under

Down Under

Magic Johnson inspires Australia to second test win.  Full Article 

Going International

Going International

Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra sets sights on American TV.  Full Article 

India This Week

India This Week

Some of our best photos from this week.   Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage