He says the impression is that efforts are going on behind the scenes to ascertain Mr Chen's wishes and where to go from here, all the time balancing that against the diplomatic difficulty of having Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in Beijing for bilateral talks.
Mr Chen told the BBC by telephone from his hospital bed, in an interview conducted in Chinese, that since he left he has been made aware of threats issued to his wife and family while he was in the embassy.
"She told me our house has been installed with seven CCTV cameras inside the courtyard. There are people in and outside of our house and on the roof... They just eat and stay in our house, and they plan to build up electric wires around my house," he told the BBC.
Although he initially said he wanted to stay in China, he changed his mind because he believed China had reneged on an agreement to guarantee his safety.
There is no official confirmation about the nature of any such agreement, but media reports from the US suggest that Mr Chen had been promised safety in a university town elsewhere in China.
Mr Chen also said that US officials had been to the hospital where he is currently receiving treatment, but he had not seen them. He believes Chinese foreign ministry officials are not letting them in. There is a considerable police presence at the hospital.
"Yesterday afternoon I thought they (the US officials) left. I looked for them, but couldn't find them... Today I got to know that they were prevented from coming in, not that they are not coming in," Mr Chen said.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said he had "no information" on Mr Chen's request to leave China.
Mrs Clinton has previously expressed her support for Mr Chen, who has been held under house arrest for almost two years.
As the bilateral talks opened, she addressed the topic of human rights.
"The United States believes that no state can legitimately deny the universal rights that belong to every human being - or punish those who exercise them," the top US diplomat said.
President Hu Jintao, also speaking at the start of the talks, said it was not possible for China and the US to see "eye to eye on every issue".