May 3 - Escaped dissident Chen Guangcheng says in a phone interview he wants to leave China because of safety fears. Paul Chapman reports.
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Speaking by phone from the Beijing hospital where he's been undergoing medical checks, escaped dissident Chen Guangcheng says he's anxious to get out of China.
SOUNDBITE: CHEN GUANGCHENG SAYING (Mandarin):
"I feel very unsafe. My civil rights are not guaranteed. I was thinking that way (staying in China) before, but now I have changed my mind."
REPORTER ASKING: "What made you change your mind?"
"Because I have seen too much."
REPORTER ASKING: "Can you tell us why in detail?"
"I'd rather not talk about it. For safety reasons."
REPORTER ASKING: "What about your family?"
"My family is right here with me. My wife and my children are all with me here."
REPORTER ASKING: "Do they support your decision? Will they go with you?"
"Yes, of course. Of course."
Chen left the U.S. embassy on Wednesday six days after taking refuge there following his escape from house arrest.
He was pinning his hopes on a diplomatic deal that would have allowed him and his family to stay in China under improved circumstances.
He said he'd subsequently changed his mind after his wife told him of recent threats against his family.
At this stage it's unclear whether Chen will be able to travel to the United States.
Now he's left the embassy U.S. officials are no longer with him and his fate is now in the hands of the Chinese government.
Paul Chapman, Reuters
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