BEIJING - 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 US-China deal that had persuaded him to give up refuge in the US 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 US 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.

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