BEIJING - Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng left the US Embassy on Wednesday in Beijing "of his own volition" after being there for six days, state media said on Wednesday, as China denounced the United States for interfering in its internal affairs.
The blind lawyer, Chen Guangcheng, left the embassy by car with US Ambassador Gary Locke, who took him to hospital, The Washington Post said. A Post correspondent spoke briefly to Chen on the phone and he said he was fine.
Just hours earlier, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in China for top-level talks that risk being upstaged by the drama over Chen whose flight to the US Embassy neither China nor the United States would confirm until now.
A brief report by the Xinhua news agency broke China's media silence. A senior US official confirmed that Chen was out of the embassy.
"Chen Guangcheng has arrived at a medical facility in Beijing where he will receive medical treatment and be reunited with his family," said the official who requested anonymity.
China's Foreign Ministry said it was extremely unhappy the embassy had taken Chen in.
"It must be pointed out that the United States Embassy took the Chinese citizen Chen Guangcheng into the embassy in an irregular manner, and China expresses its strong dissatisfaction over this," ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said in a statement carried by Xinhua.
"The U.S. method was interference in Chinese domestic affairs, and this is totally unacceptable to China. China demands that the United States apologise over this, thoroughly investigate this incident, punish those who are responsible, and give assurances that such incidents will not recur."
Chen's plight has overshadowed the Strategic and Economic Dialogue due to begin on Thursday. The United States hopes the talks will encourage greater Chinese cooperation on trade as well over Iran, Syria, North Korea and other international disputes.
Relations could easily go awry, especially with the ruling Communist Party wrestling with a leadership scandal and a looming power succession.
Before leaving for China on Monday, Clinton promised to press China's leaders on human rights, an issue that has dropped down the agenda between the two countries in the more than two decades since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.
The annual talks give Washington a chance to push China to pressure Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programmes, halting Syria's crackdown on unarmed protesters and reducing tensions over disputed territories in the South China Sea.
But Beijing has been reluctant to back tougher international sanctions against Tehran and Pyongyang. It also worries that U.S. efforts to strengthen its presence in Asia have emboldened countries disputing Chinese claims in the South China Sea.