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:

Reuters Showcase

Kashmir Attack

Kashmir Attack

Ten dead in Kashmir's worst militant attack in more than a year.  Full Article 

New Twist

New Twist

CBI says girls found hanging from tree in Badaun killed themselves.  Full Article 

Bird Flu Strain

Bird Flu Strain

Bird flu outbreak in India caused by strain humans can contract - OIE.  Full Article 

Cricketing Tragedy

Cricketing Tragedy

A sport left heartbroken by death of Hughes  Full Article 

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

GDP growth to slow to 5.1 pct, but no rate cut yet - Reuters Poll.  Full Article 

Racial Unrest

Racial Unrest

Protests in Ferguson, elsewhere dwindle after two nights of unrest.  Full Article 

Suicide Blast

Suicide Blast

Suicide bomber kills five in attack on British embassy car in Kabul - officials.  Full Article 

A Minute With: Nandita Das

A Minute With: Nandita Das

A telephone interview with actress Nandita Das.  Full Article 

Jamini Roy

Jamini Roy

Photo Gallery – Bengali household name Jamini Roy’s paintings  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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