Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has left the US embassy in Beijing, a week after seeking shelter following his escape from house arrest.
State news agency Xinhua said Chen Guangcheng left “of his own volition”. He is having a check-up at a Beijing hospital. His lawyer said he was “happy” and “free”.
The announcement came as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in China for high-level annual talks.
Hillary Clinton said Chen Guangcheng’s departure “reflected his choices and our values”.
“The United States government and the American people are committed to remaining engaged with Mr. Chen and his family in the days, weeks, and years ahead,” Hillary Clinton said in a statement.
Chen Guangcheng’s case threatened to overshadow the talks, which are due to focus on issues like Syria and trade.
US officials were said to have been in talks with their Chinese counterparts ahead of the announcement.
After leaving the US embassy, the Chinese dissident had a telephone call with Hillary Clinton in which he said: “I want to kiss you.”
Chen Guangcheng’s lawyer Li Jinsong said he had spoken to his client on the phone. He said Chen Guangcheng was “very happy and wants to hug all his friends”. Li Jinsong said the dissident had told him he now had “true freedom”, his rights were now protected by the national law and he was “a free citizen”.
Chen Guangcheng’s wife said she and their two children were well.
A US official said Chen Gunagcheng was to stay in China where he had been promised a “safe” place.
Neither Beijing nor Washington had confirmed Chen Guangcheng’s whereabouts.
The US official, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the dissident had gone into the embassy because he needed medical care and had not requested political asylum.
“China acknowledged that Mr. Chen will be treated humanely while he remains in China,” the official said.
“When he leaves the hospital, the Chinese authorities have stated that Mr. Chen and his family will be relocated to a safe environment so that he may attend a university to pursue a course of study,” he said.
“This was an extraordinary case involving exceptional circumstances, and we do not anticipate that it will be repeated,” the official said.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin earlier said Chen Guangcheng had been taken into the US embassy “via abnormal measures” and the Chinese authorities were “strongly dissatisfied”.
Chen Guangcheng, who has been blind since childhood, has long been a high-profile figure and international rights groups have frequently expressed alarm at the treatment of him and his family.
He was placed under house arrest in 2010 after spending more than four years in jail for disrupting traffic and damaging property.
Chen Guangcheng exposed how local authorities in Linyi, in Shandong province, forced thousands of women to have abortions or be sterilized as part of China’s one-child policy
His colleagues said the escape from house arrest had taken months to plan, and was carried out with the help of a network of friends and activists.
Chen Guangcheng scaled the wall that the authorities had built around his house, and was driven hundreds of miles to Beijing, where activists say he stayed in safe houses before fleeing to the embassy.
Several people involved in Chen Guangcheng’s escape have been detained or have disappeared in recent days.