Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng says he wants to leave for the United States rather than stay in China as he feels his safety and that of his family cannot be assured.
Chen, who is believed to be in a Beijing hospital, made his comments just hours after US officials made an agreement with the Chinese authorities to guarantee his wellbeing.
In a telephone interview, Chen said: “If I didn’t leave, the Chinese authorities would endanger my family and send them back to Shandong province. Also, I have the feeling that the US government is quite supportive of me leaving.”
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is visiting China, raised the issue of human rights at an after- dinner speech in the Chinese capital.
“Now, of course, as part of our dialogue, the United States raises the importance of human rights and fundamental freedoms, because we believe that all governments do have to answer to citizens’ aspirations for dignity and the rule of law. As President Obama said this week, a China that protects the rights of all its citizens will be a stronger and more prosperous nation,” she said.
Chen’s plight has become a diplomatic nightmare for Washington. Last week, Chen sought refuge in the US embassy in Beijing after earlier making a dramatic escape from house arrest.