BEIJING (BP) -- In a dramatic testimony by phone to a U.S. House committee Thursday, Chinese human rights advocate Chen Guangcheng made clear he wants to come to the United States and that he fears for his family's safety.
"I want to come to the U.S. to rest. I have not had a rest in 10 years," Chen said, according to a translation as reported by Reuters.
"I'm really scared for my other family members' lives. (Chinese officials) have installed seven video cameras and are in my house."
Chen, speaking from a hospital, also said he wanted to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"I'm really scared for my other family members' lives," Chen said. "[Chinese officials] have installed seven video cameras and are in my house."
Chen's testimony only added to a confusing set of media reports about his situation. Earlier in the day, USA Today reported that Chen was confident that the U.S. will help him leave the country.
"I am not disappointed in the U.S. government," Chen told the newspaper. "They made such a great effort. I am very grateful. It was under their great efforts that I got this important agreement."
Chen also called the agreement between the countries a "breakthrough."
"The Chinese government has promised to guarantee my civil liberties. Is this not a breakthrough? But its implementation is very important. It must be fully implemented, and this has not happened yet," he said.
Chen, a 40-year-old self-trained lawyer who has been blind since childhood, was imprisoned and then placed under house arrest for exposing forced abortions under China's one-child policy. In one of the most tragic examples Chen had helped uncover, the government forced a woman who was seven months pregnant to have an abortion, and then forcibly sterilized her, LifeNews.com reported.
The State Department, meanwhile, continued Thursday to say Chen left the embassy of his own volition and expressed a desire to remain in China. Though that once was his intention, Chen told CNN the imminent threat he and his family have realized means their only hope for freedom is to leave China.
In an English transcript of his remarks to CNN, Chen said he believes U.S. officials failed to protect human rights in his case, and he appealed to President Obama to "do everything you can to get our whole family out."
Chen reiterated to CNN that he left the U.S. Embassy, where he had sought refuge, in order to receive medical care and reunite with his wife and two children at a Beijing hospital. He also feared that if he did not leave the embassy his family would be in danger. Read More