Deal or no deal over Chen?

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Chen Guangcheng in hospital in Bejing
Chen Guangcheng in hospital in Bejing Photo: Jordan Pouille/AFP/GettyImages

Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng said he left the American embassy in Beijing after an official said his wife's life would be in danger if he didn't.

Here is an edited transcript of the interview Chen gave to the Associated Press.

Chen: Hello

Reporter: Yes this is Chen Guangcheng?

Chen: Yes

Asked why he left the US Embassy:

Chen: Because if I didn't leave they (Chinese authorities) would endanger my family and send them back to Shandong. Also, I got the feeling that the US government, and the embassy was quite supportive of me leaving as well

Chen: Help my whole family to leave?

Reporter: Leave China?

Chen: Mmm. [In the affirmative]

Chen: I feel that, if they could insure our safety I'd stay, but, the way it looks now, I have already lost hope of that

Chen: I really don't know if they are just going to kidnap me back to Shandong [Chen's home province where he was held under house arrest]

Earlier today as I was at the hospital where Chen was being treated for a foot injury sustained while escaping from house arrest, there was a sense that a remarkable deal had been done between the US and China over the fate of the human rights activist.

Hillary Clinton arrived in Beijing today and US officials were saying 'intense' diplomatic efforts had secured his freedom.

Now it seems he is saying he didn't leave the Embassy because a deal had been done but because he feared for the safety of his wife and family.

He'd been reunited with them at the hospital in central Bejing, but then he claims Chinese officials told him they would be sent back to the house that had effectively been their prison for almost two years.

This is what the US State Department says what happened:

I was there. Chen made the decision to leave the Embassy after he knew his family was safe and at the hospital waiting for him, and after twice being asked by Ambassador Locke if he ready to go. He said, "zou," - let's go. We were all there as witnesses to his decision, and he hugged and thanked us all.

– Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell