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  • Chen's Choices and American Values

    Human rights activists Bob Fu and Reggie Littlejohn will discuss recent developments in the Chen Guangcheng case at a press conference today at The Heritage Foundation.

    They do so at the height of tension over the case of Chinese dissident Chen Gaungcheng, who, after leaving the safety of the U.S. embassy in Beijing (potentially under pressure), has reconsidered remaining in China and now adamantly wishes to leave for the U.S. with his family.

    He won’t be able to unless China chooses to respect his right to do so. The world is looking with interest to see whether the U.S. will go to bat to persuade China to allow him this.

    Having spoken with Chen, Fu and Littlejohn report that he felt pressured to leave embassy protection and was made by some to feel a burden to the U.S. Further, they say he left for fear that something would happen to his wife if he did not. If true, this would be both inhumane and a reflection of bad negotiating.

    The U.S. government says that it was necessary for him to seek medical treatment for injuries sustained in his escape and that the deal worked out with the Chinese government gave assurance that Chen and his family would not be harmed.

    But apparently Chen’s confidence in the agreement quickly eroded upon leaving the sanctuary of the embassy as one by one the Americans slipped out his hospital door until, finally, his lifeline was gone and he was alone with his wife, children, and the stories about how she had been beaten by guards upon his escape from house arrest.

    According to Melinda Liu in Beijing, Chen now says that his “fervent hope is that it would be possible for me and my family to leave for the U.S. on Hillary Clinton’s plane.”

    Meanwhile, activists have been unable to contact fellow dissident He “Pearl” Peirong, who assisted Chen in reaching the safety of the U.S. embassy in Beijing. They worry that she and others in their network have now been detained by the government because of help to, and association with, Chen.

    Fu, himself a former Tiananmen Square student leader, describes the Chen Gaungcheng affair as a watershed moment for U.S. credibility in the defense of freedom and rule of law.

    Chen fled to the U.S. embassy because, as Littlejohn has said, it is perceived by many to be the one safe place in all of China where individuals who find themselves on the wrong side of the government (the Party) might expect to receive refuge.

    But that perception is increasingly on shaky ground.

    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.

    Before Chen’s announced desire to flee China, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quoted as saying that her country had handled the case “in a way reflecting his choices and American values”.

    Regarding Chen’s choice: After the light of day hit the deal made with the Chinese, Chen’s choice sounds clear: He’d like to take the first plane out of Beijing.

    And what of those American values?

    Will the Administration prove itself interested in doing the legwork behind the scenes to stand up for individual liberty? What of Chen’s friend He Peirong and the others who have disappeared this past week? Will the Administration insist upon a verifiable accounting of their location and well-being?

    Will the Administration place a high value upon a tenacious promotion of freedom?

    We’ll have to see.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Chen's Choices and American Values

    1. O_Henry says:

      “The light that shines farthest shines brightest at home….” Oswald Chambers

      When the guiding philosophy of the present US administration promotes big government interests over individual freedoms (Obamacare over individual religious freedom issues and ethical concerns) here, at home, in the territorial USA, what would make one think this present administration would champion personal freedom and human rights in other countries including China?

    2. Steve S. says:

      "Fu, himself a former Tiananmen Square student leader, describes the Chen Gaungcheng affair as a watershed moment for U.S. credibility in the defense of freedom and rule of law."

      Really?
      This Administration cares not a whit for either freedom or the rule of law. This is the only thing about which it has been consistent. What a no-brainer. How devastating is the illness which this nation now sufferes.

    3. platinumgranny says:

      There is no doubt in my mind that this administration will cut Chen loose and let the Chinese Communists do as they wish.

    4. Illuminated says:

      As the current administration strips the individual liberties from Americans, as its own policy of funding abortions under the guise of woman's rights, and as it slowly becomes party to all the other dictatorship practices seen in China and the other socialist countries world wide, why would we ever believe that Obama and Hillary will stand up for individual human rights or free speech. And why would any country in the world respect the USA anymore. We have lost the moral high ground and are just another big mouth with no power to save anyone. Thank you King Obama and Queen Hillary.

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