Activist Chen Guangcheng: Let Me Leave China on Hillary Clinton’s Plane
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast’s Melinda Liu, blind dissident Chen Guangcheng says he’s been abandoned by American officials at a Chinese hospital and begs to leave the country on Hillary Clinton’s plane.
When U.S. officials escorted him out of the U.S. embassy shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday, Chen thought he’d extracted a promise that at least one of them would stay with him at the hospital, he said. “Many Americans were with me while I checked into the hospital and doctors examined me. Lots of them,” he told me from his hospital bed, where he’s being treated for broken bones in one foot, an injury sustained when he fell after climbing a wall during his daring escape from house arrest late last month. “But when I was brought to the hospital room, they all left. I don’t know where they went.” The ordeal was all the more bewildering because Chen is blind and was hurt during his escape; he needs crutches or a wheelchair to move around.
The hours ticked by, and Chen became more and more agitated. Even though he’d originally told friends and embassy officials that he wished to remain in China, now he wanted to leave. “I hope to seek medical treatment in the U.S. with my family, and then I want to rest,” he said. “As for the future, we’ll deal with that in the future.” At the hospital, Chen’s fears mounted as his wife told him she’d been tied to a chair, beaten, and interrogated by Chinese guards after they learned he had entered the U.S. embassy in Beijing last Friday.
Nick Zahnpoints out,
Congressman Frank Wolf (R–VA) reminds us in his Foreign Policy piece:
During a visit to Asia early in her tenure as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton famously said that U.S .concern with human rights issues in China “can’t interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crisis.”
It is likely that this prioritization has not been forgotten by China’s leadership.
one wonders what impact this might have on the Obama Administration internationally and domestically. Frida Ghitis, in an opinion piece at CNN.com, puts it this way:
The Chen case, however, could become iconic. If the Obama administration cannot explain what went wrong, it will have opened itself to criticism from human rights advocates and from Republican rivals, that he badly fumbled.
The Chinese government has demanded an apology from Washington for helping Chen and for interfering in Chinese domestic affairs. But the Obama administration, which claimed it had stayed true to American values in the Chen case, needs to prove that it has the moral strength to stand up for one courageous individual who sought help.
This is not just about Chen. It is about universal principles of human rights, really, and about America’s willingness to defend them on the global stage. The whole world is watching.
We can’t save every political prisoner in China, but when they show up at the doorstep of our Embassy and we let them in things change significantly. If it turns out that we’ve turned Chen and his family back over to the wolves that’s going to be something the Obama Administration will have to answer for at some point.
Doug is an optimist. The media will turn a blind eye on Chen, and the Obama administration will have to answer to no one.
Prior post on Chen here.
Didn’t take long for the Taiwanese Animation folks to come up with something,
Can you help spread the word about this petition? It calls on Obama to grant Guangcheng political asylum: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/president-obama-protect-chen-guangcheng/