Friday May 4, 2012
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Sometimes even the best intentioned deals turn out badly.
The continuing saga of Chen Guangcheng appears it might be one of them.
For those who have been busy getting the kids to do their homework, Chen Guangcheng is a blind Chinese activist who was under house arrest for about 18 months until he escaped a couple of weeks ago.
Chen protested how the Chinese were enforcing the one-couple-one-child policy: Forced abortions.
It doesn't matter whether you're pro-choice or pro-life. Abortion forced upon a woman by the state is abhorrent.
About 10 days ago, Chen scaled a high wall surrounding his home and high-tailed it to the U.S. embassy in Beijing about 400 miles away.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was coming, along with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, to China for extremely high-level meetings with the Chinese government which, in spite of the fact that they have purchased about a ga-jillion dollars of our sovereign debt, still Communist.
And. They make all of our iPads and iPhones about which I am extremely conflicted as I write this.
In advance of Hillary and Timmy arriving in Beijing, a deal was negotiated for Chen to leave the U.S. embassy and be taken to a hospital where he could be treated for an injury to his foot suffered when he escaped from his house.
He, according to some reports, was told that either he get to the hospital (and away from the protection of the U.S. embassy) or his wife would be beaten to death.
That is open to question, but this is not. When Chen got to the hospital he expected to be in the company of U.S. embassy personnel. Instead he found himself in the company of Chinese security personnel.
The Washington Post then reported:
Chen clarified that he left the U.S. Embassy on Wednesday of his own free will, but he charged that the Chinese government is reneging on promises to U.S. officials to fully restore his freedom.
None of that is going to happen. America owes China too much money.
So, this blind activist for the rights of women has now traded house arrest for his being under close detention in a hospital.
As if you needed more proof that the 21st century is not your father's centennial, Chen used his cell phone to call into a … CONGRESSIONAL HEARING yesterday.
The hearing, chaired by NJ Republican Chris Smith whom the LA Times described as "a prominent champion of human rights" told Chen: "Your case is the test of the Chinese commitment to protect you….but also a test to the United States of whether or not human rights really matter."
The LA Times also reported:
"Witnesses at the hearing testified that the U.S. embassy had escorted Chen to the hospital where he is now being treated for injuries sustained in the escape, but left when visiting hours ended at 9 p.m."
The Associated Press reported Chen told the Committee that he wanted to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "I hope I can get more help from her," he said.
The problem for President Barack Obama is, he now finds himself on the razor's edge balancing between wanting to concluded extremely high-level discussions with the Chinese while one activist has successfully put himself squarely in a limelight he cannot see.
Chen would like to come to the U.S. with his family - specifically he would like to leave when Secretary Clinton does. He further wants to be able to return to China "in safety" which might be a bit of an overreach.
The issue for Mrs. Clinton is this: Is she now in a position where Chen Guangcheng will, in effect, be left on the runway with his family as her plane leaves for the U.S.?
Americans and Chinese, after frenzied talks, reached a deal that would send Chen to a local hospital and out of the safety of the U.S. embassy. The AP posed the issue this way: "Whether the Chinese would be willing to renegotiate a deal that both sides thought had been settled a day earlier."
Will Obama issue orders to get Chen and his family out of China? Or will he decide the Clinton/Geithner talks take precedence.
People around the world are watching to see what Obama does in the next few days.
Tough being President.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the Wikipedia entry for Chen, to the LA Times piece and the AP update.
Also another in the long series of license plate Mullfotos and a Catchy Caption of the Day Celebrating - no - Demonstrating Mayday.
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