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US Sells out Blind Chinese Activist?

What a disaster for the Obama administration! From CNN: [1]

He said Thursday that he felt that his life and that of his wife would be in danger if he were to remain in the country.

“Anything could happen,” he said.

Chen said he left the embassy only after U.S. officials encouraged him to do so.

“The embassy kept lobbying me to leave and promised tohave people stay with me at the hospital,” he said. “But this afternoon, as soon as I checked into the hospital room, I noticed they were all gone.”

He said he was “very disappointed” in the U.S. government and felt “a little” that he had been lied to by the embassy.

This could be deadly for poor Chen Guangcheng, but it’s unequivocally humiliating for America. What the hell happened here? Throwing a blind man whose only crime was speaking out against forced abortions back to those wolves?

On the other hand, US officials insist that they never forced Chen out of the embassy [2], that they asked him over and over if he was sure he wanted to do this. More:

The American ambassador, Gary Locke, reiterated Thursday that Mr. Chen had not been coerced into leaving the embassy on Wednesday and insisted that the dissident lawyer had left of his free will after a plan had been worked out with the Chinese government that he and his family could relocate to a city close to Beijing where he would pursue his law studies.

If this is true, and Chen, upon release, realized he had made a terrible mistake, it is only human to blame the Americans for allegedly misleading him. My sympathies are naturally with Chen, but we should allow for the possibility that it was he who erred here, not our people. In any case, what a rotten bunch of bastards the Chinese government is. Funny how it’s the world’s rising power, rich and filled with opportunity, yet nobody wants to live there, unless they have a foreign passport and can leave when the thugocracy comes after them.

19 Comments (Open | Close)

19 Comments To "US Sells out Blind Chinese Activist?"

#1 Comment By Brian On May 3, 2012 @ 9:24 am

I see no reason for Chen to be lying about this. Why the heck would he? It would make less than zero sense, and would just cement his fate as a walking dead man.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of reasons for the US gov’t to be lying about this. Given the facts involved, it’s crazy to think otherwise.

Remember back in 1992 when Clinton established his foreign-policy credentials during the campaign by bashing George H.W. Bush for coddling China after Tienanmen Square, and for not taking out Saddam? Good times, good times.

The US public pretty much universally loathes China, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, with good reason, and yet our governing class (both parties are culpable here) refuses to even talk about these despicable regimes. What a horrible, horrible situation. I know I’ll get savaged by the usual suspects here as a war-monger for even daring to criticize another country, and don’t I know that the US is 10 times worse? But the truth must be said.

#2 Comment By Jill On May 3, 2012 @ 9:24 am

From what I’ve read, it sounds like Chen did say he wanted to stay in China but changed his mind after being abandoned by Americans at the hospital. If that’s the case, US blew it. Also, Chen says he felt pressured to leave embassy.


#3 Comment By Mark Shea On May 3, 2012 @ 9:32 am

Who gives a shit how it affect this miserable narcissistic Administration? What about the man this wretched President has lied to and betrayed?

#4 Comment By Mr. Patrick On May 3, 2012 @ 9:36 am

I suspect that given his past statements regarding threats against his family by the Chinese government, he has to not only stay in China, but trash the United States as well, in order to Mutually Assure Destruction of “face” for America in this matter. I guess it worked.

#5 Comment By Rod Dreher On May 3, 2012 @ 9:38 am

Who gives a shit how it affect this miserable narcissistic Administration? What about the man this wretched President has lied to and betrayed?

That wasn’t my point. Believe me, I’m very, very inclined to believe Chen and not my own government here. I am just trying to be fair and not condemn US officials based on my own instincts, without knowing a bit more about what happened.

#6 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On May 3, 2012 @ 9:38 am

Having a foreign passport didn’t help Neil Heywood. Personally I would avoid going there as it seems a lawless place.

#7 Comment By Jon On May 3, 2012 @ 9:43 am

This story raises a few red flags for me.

1) Chen, by his own account, is being blocked from access to U.S. Embassy officials while in the hospital. However, he is being given access to CNN. The Chinese government is choosing to let Chen talk to the Western press.

2) Chen’s account is that the Americans promised to stay with him at the hospital. Such a guarantee would be absurd, since of course the officials cannot force their way into a Beijing hospital, and any promise from the Chinese government must be taken with a grain of salt. The Americans know this, so if they promised Chen anything more than “we will attempt to stay at the hospital, but ultimately if the Chinese go back on their word we will be unabable to stay there” then they were not only lying to Chen, but assuming Chen was remarkably naive for a Chinese human rights activist. It is possible that the Ambassador to China decided to tell not only a lie but a bad lie to Chen, but I am skeptical. Note that, in an interview on NPR, Chen did say that he thought the Americans abandoned him, but he later found out from other visitors that the Americans have been at the hospital trying to see him, but were being denied access.

3) Why are these news stories not reporting on the goings-on at the hospital. These reporters are apparently in a room with Chen, and yet there is no comment on whether there are guards at the doors, whether there are any US officials in or around the hospital, what kind of conditions Chen is under. Why aren’t reporters giving eyewitness reports of these matters? Is the Chinese government telling them not to?

#8 Comment By IanH On May 3, 2012 @ 10:00 am

I see no justification for jeopardizing our relations with China for the sake of one person.

#9 Comment By baconboy On May 3, 2012 @ 10:01 am

If he got thrown under the bus, those decisions wouldn’t have been made at the embassy level.

My brother-in-law actually works in our embassy in China, so I wish I could ask him about this, but all of his communications, and my sister’s, are bugged, so I can’t even bother to ask. Maybe in a few years I’ll be able to ask what really happened.

#10 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On May 3, 2012 @ 10:10 am

Our officials, such as they are, should stop gabbling about “human rights” in foreign countries. This is not a state concern. This kind of rhetoric forces us into disadvantageous stances, and then our incompetent Dear Leader makes us look like impotent fools.

#11 Comment By interestedobserver On May 3, 2012 @ 10:14 am

The whole thing seems very convoluted, to put it mildly. Until/unless he’s actually here and can speak his mind, I have to scratch my head — but I gotta say this: he, surely, knew that to escape himself meant putting his family and others at terrible risk. Now, if that network essentially said “Hey, we will run that risk, go to town, please,” that’s one thing — and should not be discounted given the cause he stands for. (Knowing nothing about him personally, he strikes me as a remarkable man, and while I am pro-choice and a strong believer in birth control, the Chinese government’s approach is unequivocally crude, cruel and foolish.) If it was something else? I’m not sure. Power politics always ignores the individual in favor of the apparatus and the status quo by default, though.

#12 Comment By Park Hyun On May 3, 2012 @ 10:20 am

“Funny how it’s the world’s rising power, rich and filled with opportunity, yet nobody wants to live there, unless they have a foreign passport and can leave when the thugocracy comes after them.”

I’ve seen a lot of reasons for that across Asia, but mostly in China, and definitely coastal China. We here in the States often get spooked by this big shadowy specter of a growing China, but really all that growth is making the country an awful place to live.

I don’t want to do too off-topic here, but I like to point out to people who haven’t been to China that it’s going to rule America anytime soon, or probably ever. You have to take into account that:
* China’s environment is so devastated most people can’t farm there anymore. Our debts will be paid back in cheap American wheat soon enough.

* The stronger they get, the more arrogant and frightening. Lots of anti-American countries have changed their tune and become our friends, but few anti-Chinese countries have done the same. Their only real friend is Pakistan, and we know how loyal and useful they are.

* They have virtually no infrastructure. It’ll take billions and billions of dollars to get close to where we are, and then it will still be made too cheaply and too quickly, and fall apart.

* They’re facing a disastrous sudden shrinkage in population, with something like 1 worker per 4 retirees.

* All this also assumes that unlike every other rapidly-growing country, China is not creating a bubble that will pop and destroy hundreds of millions of lives.

Happy thoughts!

#13 Comment By Park Hyun On May 3, 2012 @ 10:20 am

Sorry, that should be, “that it’s NOT going to rule America.”

#14 Comment By J On May 3, 2012 @ 10:40 am

MH–the difference with Neil Heywood was that he was in bed with corrupt people who solved their disagreements as criminals often do. His murder is tragic, but he knew what kind of people with whom he was dealing.

According to a series of tweets from [4], who spoke with Chen immediately after he left the Embassy, his decision to leave was because he was told that the Chinese officials were [3] [5] that it was a change of mind to request that he and his whole family be taken to the US.

#15 Comment By Geronimo On May 3, 2012 @ 11:02 am

“…Funny how it’s the world’s rising power, rich and filled with opportunity, yet nobody wants to live there…”

China is a horrible place, too crowded, too dirty, too violent, and, at least for westerners the chinese people and culture are so strange that they could be aliens from the outer space.
And i do belive the govt. sold the activist for some useless favor in the War Against Iran, maybe the Chinese would not veto something.

#16 Comment By Mike On May 3, 2012 @ 11:03 am

I am sensing this is the second act of a longer opera. What we are seeing now is not likely the reality of the situation

#17 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On May 3, 2012 @ 11:13 am

baconboy, ever heard of the Solitaire cipher [6] ? It looks like a card game, but is really a way to send encrypted messages. It was designed by Bruce Schneier who’s a cryptographer and although not perfect the security is very high.

#18 Comment By Rich On May 3, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

The reason Chen is being persecuted is that he exposed the forced abortions and sterilizations taking place in his local province.
The Obama administration, particularly Clinton who was awarded the Margaret Sanger Award by Planned Parenthood, is not friendly to pro-life activists. Obama voted against a law banning infantcide (specifically, the killing of abortion survivors). The administration’s hero is Warren Buffett, who personally funded a mobile abortion devise for performing abortions in the African bush.

#19 Comment By MattW On May 3, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

Agreed with IanH. What responsibility does the US embassy in China have to provide asylum for people who have made trouble for themselves by criticizing the ruling regime?