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Foreign Policy 101: Chinese Dissident, Part 1

April 28, 2012…

Headlines:

  • Chinese Dissident Reportedly Hiding In U.S. Embassy
  • Challenge for U.S. After Escape by China Activist
  • Escaped dissident Chen Guangcheng believed to be hiding in US embassy in Beijing

Chinese dissident: Chen Guangcheng

A Chinese human rights group claims prominent dissident Chen Guangcheng is now “under United States protection” after escaping house arrest.

Mr. Chen was jailed for four years and then spent 19 months under house arrest after he exposed forced abortions and sterilizations in the Chinese countryside.

The US government will neither confirm nor deny that it is harboring high-profile Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng in its Beijing Embassy.

U.S. Embassy in China’s capital, Beijing

The dramatic nighttime escape of a blind rights lawyer from house arrest inhis village dealt a major embarrassment to the Chinese government and left the United States, which may be sheltering him, with a new diplomatic quandary as it seeks to improve its fraught relationship with Beijing.

By sheltering him, Washington risks a major diplomatic falling out with Beijing ahead of a visit by Hilary Clinton and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner next week. The Chinese authorities are furious and embarrassed that such a high-profile dissident has escaped their custody.

April 29, 2012…

Today, Mitt Romney released the following statement on reports that Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng is seeking protection at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, China:

“My concern at this moment is for the safety of Chen Guangcheng and his family. My hope is that U.S. officials will take every measure to ensure that Chen and his family members are protected from further persecution.

This event points to the broader issue of human rights in China. Any serious U.S. policy toward China must confront the facts of the Chinese government’s denial of political liberties, its one-child policy, and other violations of human rights. Our country must play a strong role in urging reform in China and supporting those fighting for the freedoms we enjoy.”

“…when your opponent’s drowning, you don’t throw him an anvil. You put a garden hose in their mouth and turn it on.” Rush Limbaugh – advice to Mitt Romney.

Campaign Advice for Mitt Romney (from Rush Limbaugh)

May 01, 2012

RUSH: You know what Ray Kroc said, the great capitalist and founder of McDonald’s? He said when your opponent’s drowning, you don’t throw him an anvil. You put a garden hose in their mouth and turn it on.

“…This is an ideological battle. And that’s what the Tea Party’s all about, and that’s what conservatism’s all about. It’s about saving America, preserving this country as founded. It’s not just about defeating Obama. That’s, of course, required. But the campaign to do so has gotta be much more in-depth than that.

 May 02, 2012…

  • Chinese Dissident Leaves US Embassy After Six Days
  • China-U.S. deal over dissident sours, Chen fears for life
  • US denies dissident coerced to leave Beijing mission.

Chen Guangcheng appealed to President Barack Obama to help him escape China with his family, telling journalists he feared for his life just hours after leaving the U.S. Embassy under a deal that Washington had hoped would defuse the crisis with Beijing.

Chen left the embassy on Wednesday after securing guarantees that, according to U.S. officials, would have allowed him to relocate within the country in safety with his family and pursue his studies. He had been holed up in the embassy for six days after escaping house arrest last month.

The deal was negotiated between the United States and China in the days before a visit to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and U.S. officials had touted it as a sign of the cooperative U.S.-China partnership.

But Chinese authorities took a tougher tone in the hours after Chen left the embassy, immediately criticising what they called U.S. meddling and demanding an apology for the way U.S. diplomats handled the case.

Chinese villages at edge of Dongshigu village, home of dissident Chen Guangcheng.

May 03, Headlines

May 03, 2012

  • Romney criticizes Obama over Chinese dissident
  • Romney blasts Obama administration’s handling of Chinese dissident case
  • Romney: Chinese dissident Chen’s departure from American embassy was ‘a dark day for freedom’

Romney, in a speech in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, accused the administration of seeking to hasten Chen’s departure from the embassy placing economic concerns above Chen’s freedom.

“The reports are, if they are accurate, that our administration, willingly or unwittingly communicated to Chen an implicit threat to his family, and also probably sped up, or may have sped up the process of his decision to leave the embassy because they wanted to move on to a series of discussions that Mr. Geithner and our secretary of state are planning to have with China,” Romney said.

“It’s also apparent according to these reports, if they are accurate, that our embassy failed to put in place the kind of verifiable measures that would ensure the safety of Mr. Chen and his family,” Romney added. “If these reports are true, this is a dark day for freedom. And it’s a day of shame for the Obama administration. We are a place of freedom here and around the world, and we should stand up and defend freedom wherever it is under attack.”

Romney came to this conclusion “based on news reports.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who is in a Beijing hospital after leaving the U.S. embassy on Wednesday, says he wants to meet visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and be allowed safe passage with his family to the United States.

Chen Guangcheng Thursday made a surprising and direct appeal to lawmakers on Capitol Hill to come to the United States.

Calling in to the Congressional Executive Commission on China, dissident Chen Guangcheng told lawmakers he is concerned for the safety of his family and he wants to thank Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her efforts to help him over the past few days.

May 04, 2012…

  • China dissident Chen ‘can apply to study abroad’
  • Chinese Foreign Ministry Says Chinese Dissident Chen Guangcheng Can Apply to Study Overseas
  • NYU Law School Offers Position to Chinese Dissident

Allowing Chen Guancheng to study abroad is among the encouraging signs from the Chinese that a resolution on the future of the blind human rights activist is within reach, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today.

Clinton (speaking in China) confirmed that Chen, who escaped house arrest April 22 and found temporary refuge at the U.S. Embassy, now says he is certain he wants to go to the United States with his family to study. She said the United States is “heartened” that the Chinese government confirmed that Chen can apply to study abroad.

Chen has expressed his desire to accept an offer from New York University, which said in a statement today that he has “long-established relationships with faculty at the NYU School of Law, and has an invitation to be a visiting scholar at NYU – either in New York or at one of our other global sites. As a visiting scholar, he would be working with our law programs and scholars.”

NYU Law School, Manhattan

Having escaped from house arrest, Chen was hiding out with fellow dissidents in Beijing when the U.S. Embassy, headed by Ambassador Gary Locke, mounted an operation to bring him in from the cold.

“When we got the word that he was in Beijing,” said Locke, “and wanted to talk to us in the wee hours of the morning, we went out and contacted him, and then we engineered almost a maneuver out of ‘Mission: Impossible’ to bring him into the embassy.”

The maneuver involved transferring Chen from a van driven by the dissidents to a U.S. government car while evading Chinese surveillance; then spirit him back to the U.S. Embassy past Chinese guards whose job is to prevent would-be defectors from reaching the embassy.

That’s when six days of negotiations began. Ambassador Locke flew back from vacation in Bali to negotiate with the Chinese on Chen’s behalf.

“He did not want to go to the United States,” said Locke, “so the choice was to help him get back into China to be a freedom fighter, as he wanted, or if the conditions negotiated with the Chinese government were not to his satisfaction, he was prepared to stay in the embassy and live there for possibly years.”

...

Excerpts from various news reports online. My opinion next in Part 2.

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