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Did the Obama abandon Chen Guangcheng?

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Did the Obama  administration abandon Chen Guangcheng?

Hotair ^ | 05/02/2012 | Ed Morrissey


The story of Chinese democracy activist Chen Guangcheng took a bizarre turn  this morning. The dissident escaped house arrest and ended up at the US embassy  in Beijing, with an injury to his foot in the escape. The US then announced that  they had negotiated safe passage to a hospital with the Chinese government,  where Chen could be reunited with his family. However, the AP reported a few minutes agothat the US  told him that if he didn't leave, the Beijing government would beat his wife to  death ... and now he fears for his life:

Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng says a U.S. official told him that  Chinese authorities threatened to beat his wife to death had be not left the  American Embassy.

Speaking by phone from his hospital room in Beijing on Wednesday night, a  shaken Chen told The Associated Press that U.S. officials relayed the threat  from the Chinese side.

Chen, who fled to the embassy six day ago, left under an agreement in which  he would receive medical care, be reunited with his family and allowed to attend  university in a safe place. He says he now fears for his safety and wants to  leave.

Here was the story earlier today, from LifeNews and an earlier report from the AP:

In a new deal between the United States and China, Chen has left to a local  hospital and is reportedly under American protection, as U.S officials have  guaranteed his safety. U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke escorted Chen, according to an  AP report, to the Chaoyang Hospital and, on the way there, Chen called his  lawyer, Li Jinsong, who said Chen told him: “‘I’m free. I’ve received clear  assurances.’” …

As part of the agreement that ended the fraught, behind-the-scenes standoff,  U.S. officials said China agreed to let Mr. Chen receive a medical checkup and  be reunited with his family at the hospital; his wife and two children joined  him there Wednesday afternoon. He would then be relocated to a safe place in  China where he could study at university — all demands activists said Mr. Chen  had raised.

Clinton, in a statement, said Mr. Chen’s exit from the embassy “reflected his  choices and our values” and said the U.S. would monitor the assurances Beijing  gave. “Making these commitments a reality is the next crucial task,” she  said.

It doesn’t sound as though Chen feels particularly “free” at the  moment. Did the Obama administration sell out Chen to the Beijing government? If  so, that sends a chilling message to democracy activists and dissidents around  the world about American commitment to freedom, and Obama’s own insistence that  he would be on the side of freedom-loving activists.


Obama Bows to Chinese  Leader Hu  Jintao

What a sickening disgrace. How utterly typical of 0bama. Another kowtow to a communist.

How about telling the ChiComs that Chen and his wife  and any kids are leaving, that they have US diplomatic immunity and any  reprisals against Chen's extended family will be will be met with severe  repercussions for US-China relations?

How much courage would it take to do that?

Apparently more than exists in the Zero WH and the State  Dept.

These people make me sick.


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Re: Did the Obama abandon Chen Guangcheng?

Young Chinese heroine kidnapped for helping Chen flee: advocate

 Life Site News ^ | May 2, 2012 | KATHLEEN GILBERT



He Peirong

BEIJING, May 2, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - He Peirong is a beautiful, petite Chinese woman friends describe as having a “spine of steel” - one that proved an immense benefit to her friend, human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, whose bid for freedom she spearheaded.

But the young woman’s fate is now dangerously unknown, as she disappeared immediately after the last leg of her effort to get the forced-abortion opponent out of the government’s reach and into the U.S. Embassy last week.

Advocates say she has likely been kidnapped by Chinese officials, who are infamous for their brutal torture methods against those who defy the Communist regime.

Telling from Chen’s own treatment - which involved severe beatings, starvation, and imprisonment in his home for the past 19 months despite being officially charged with no crime - the lack of contact from He Peirong is highly alarming to advocates overseas.

Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, a U.S.-based advocacy group against forced abortions in China with deep connections to Chen’s community, said that Peirong has already suffered beatings and jailing for her efforts several times. But the success of the Embassy escape is likely to especially anger Chinese officials, as Littlejohn says it came about even while the Communisty Party was “clamp[ing] down on him as hard as it could.”

Somehow, Peirong managed to get Chen past 66 guards working in three shifts - 22 guards every eight hours - outside his house.  The village itself was sealed by another set of guards, and Chen, on top of being blind, seriously sick, and injured from beatings, had his phone, computer and television confiscated, cutting him off from the outside world.

“According to Peirong, Chen spent months on his back, pretending to be near death, so that his guards would relax their vigilance,” Littlejohn said. “Then on April 22, with exquisite timing, he scaled a wall and ran for his life, taking several wrong turns and falling into a river because of his blindness.

“Peirong drove 20 hours to meet Chen and fooled the village guards into letting her in.  She disguised herself as a courier. Then she drove Chen another eight hours - still wet from his fall in the river - to safety in Beijing.

“Their plan was so masterfully executed that the authorities did not realize Chen was gone for four days.”

But as soon as the plan was realized, Littlejohn said the reprisals began: the Communists violently detained Chen’s older brother and nephew, and his wife, children and mother, who have not been heard from, are also considered at risk.

Meanwhile, Littlejohn says as news broke of the escape she contacted Peirong, who said she was worried for her own safety. Hours later, she had vanished.

“At about 5:00 a.m. Dublin time, I skyped Peirong one last time and she did not answer. She had been detained, and no one has heard from her since,” said Littlejohn.

“We don’t know if Peirong is being tortured or whether her detention will last days, months or years.”

Littlejohn urged those concerned for Chen’s fate not to forget his rescuer.

“In pressing for Chen’s freedom, let us also press for the freedom of his rescuer, He Peirong, a hero in her own right,” said Littlejohn.

“She stood up for Chen during his time of greatest need.  The least we can do is stand by her as she pays a terrible price for her courage.”

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Re: Did the Obama abandon Chen Guangcheng?

[ Editado ]

Blind Chinese dissident speaks exclusively to Channel 4 News (Chen sold out by US Government)
Channel 4 News (UK) ^ | 5/2/2012 | Channel 4 News


 "China demands that the United States apologise over this, thoroughly investigate this incident, punish those who are responsible, and give assurances that such incidents will not recur."


Exclusive: Chen Guangcheng tells Channel 4 News he left the US embassy for hospital as part of an "agreement" with the Chinese government, but despite promises, no-one from the US embassy is with him.

Chen had been under protection at the US embassy in Beijing after escaping from house arrest last Friday.

He left the embassy for hospital on Wednesday morning, although he told Channel 4 News this was part of an agreement with the Chinese government rather than because of a medical emergency.

"Nobody from the (US) Embassy is here. I don't understand why. They promised to be here," he added.

When asked if he was at hospital because of his health, Chen replied: "No. I came because of an agreement. I was worried about the safety of my family. A gang of them have taken over our house, sitting in our room and eating at our table, waving thick sticks around.

"They've turned our home into a prison, with seven cameras and electric fence all around."

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton who arrived in Beijing on Wednesday, promised to "remain engaged" with his case.

Mrs Clinton called on the Chinese government to keep its pledge to leave Mr Chen unmolested. "The United States government and the American people are committed to remaining engaged with Mr Chen and his family in the days, weeks and years ahead," she said in a statement.

"He sounded firm in the beginning when I ask him what he wanted to tell the world," writes Channel 4 News producer Bessie Du.

"I asked him if he told the embassy that he wanted to leave China, he said: 'no, because I didn't have enough information (to make a decision)'. Later he got more anxious and started crying: 'I'm very sad..(long pause)..'

"I asked: 'what are you sad about?' and he said: 'everything I've been through in the last few days'.

"I think he really doesn't know what to do now, especially after he heard about the threat his wife and children have received. His friends also tell him that he cannot rely on the "assurance" from the Chinese authority.. This confuses him even more."

'My wish is to leave the country'



Speaking on Wednesday afternoon, Chen told Channel 4 News that he wanted to leave China with his family for a while, despite previous reports that suggested he wanted to stay in China. "My biggest wish is to leave the country with my family and rest for a while. I haven't had a Sunday [rest-day] in seven years," he said.

Lawyer Teng Biao, who is a close friend of Mr Chen, tweeted an account of several phone conversations with his friend describing his uncertainty about whether to stay in China or not. He said in a tweet: "no matter if it was because of threats or other reasons that he left the embassy, he's obviously not feeling safe now."

The dissident Zeng Jinyan, who saw Mr Chen and family in hospital, tweeted that: "Weijing [Chen's wife] told me this afternoon that it was her that convinced Guangcheng to leave the embassy to meet her and the children. Otherwise they would not have met because she and the children would have been sent back to Shangdong. In our phone conversation this evening, Chen told me for the first time that he wanted to leave China with his family."

Mr Chen had been under house arrest and restricted to his home village of Linyi in eastern Shandong province since September 2010, after spending five years in jail. Although he is not charged with any crime officially, Chen exposed the practice of forcing abortions on women who became pregnant and transgressed the one child policy.

He reported his escape on Friday by posting a video online in which he also asked Premier Wen Jiabao to investigate maltreatment against him and his family.

US officials said that embassy staff had helped Mr Chen when he arrived at the US mission in Beijing.

China's media silence on the incident ended on Wednesday with a brief report by the Xinhua news agency, saying that Mr Chen had left the embassy 'of his own volition'.

A senior US official confirmed that Chen was out of the embassy on Wednesday: "Chen Guangcheng has arrived at a medical facility in Beijing where he will receive medical treatment and be reunited with his family," said the official who requested anonymity.

Diplomatic embarrassment

Mr Chen's escape from house arrest happened just days before China and the United States were due to hold high-level talks in Beijing. Mrs Clinton said that the USA had handled the case "in a way that reflected his choices and our values." But China's Foreign Ministry said it was extremely unhappy the embassy had taken Chen in.

"It must be pointed out that the United States Embassy took the Chinese citizen Chen Guangcheng into the embassy in an irregular manner, and China expresses its strong dissatisfaction over this," ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said in a statement carried by Xinhua.

"The US method was interference in Chinese domestic affairs, and this is totally unacceptable to China. China demands that the United States apologise over this, thoroughly investigate this incident, punish those who are responsible, and give assurances that such incidents will not recur."

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Re: Did the Obama abandon Chen Guangcheng?

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US-China deal on blind activist unravels

By Jamil Anderlini and Kathrin Hille in Beijing and Geoff Dyer in Washington
May 2, 2012

A choreographed deal between the US and China over the fate of a blind Chinese human rights activist looked as though it was unravelling on Wednesday night, creating further tensions between the two countries as they prepared for crucial talks.

Chen Guangcheng, the blind activist who had taken refuge in the US embassy in Beijing, left the diplomatic compound for a hospital after a tense six-day stand-off once he received assurances from Chinese officials that he and his family would not be harassed.


US diplomats said Mr Chen, who last week escaped from house arrest in Shandong province, planned to remain in China with his family. But within hours, confusion grew over the substance of the deal with Mr Chen telling western reporters that he feared for his family’s safety and wanted to leave China.

Mr Chen told CNN by telephone on Wednesday night that he feared for his life and felt “let down” by the US.

Both US and Chinese officials had been eager to resolve the issue before high-level talks convened on Thursday between Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, Tim Geithner, Treasury secretary, and their Chinese counterparts. Those talks are now likely to be overshadowed by the diplomatic confrontation between the world’s two biggest economies.

“This is the most complicated period in US-China relations since 1989,” said David Lampton, a China expert at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, referring to the year of the Tiananmen Square protests. “In some ways it is more complicated, if not as tragic, as that period.”

The unravelling of the deal over Mr Chen could become a political challenge for President Barack Obama in an election year. Mitt Romney, his likely Republican opponent, has accused Mr Obama of being soft on China and had called on him to guarantee Mr Chen’s safety.

The US and China have been locked in intense discussions to resolve the issue. Beijing expressed intense displeasure over the incident even as it appeared to acquiesce in Mr Chen’s transfer to Chaoyang hospital in the capital.


Mr Chen was injured during his escape from his village and was treated by US embassy doctors. As he left the compound on Wednesday afternoon he was walking with the aid of a crutch.

His first phone call on leaving the compound was to Mrs Clinton, who arrived in Beijing on Wednesday. According to a US state department official, after telling Mrs Clinton in Chinese how grateful he was to her for raising his case on numerous occasions, Mr Chen said in broken English: “I want to kiss you” – although a friend of Mr Chen later claimed he said he wanted to “see” Mrs Clinton.

World Weekly Podcast

Gideon Rachman, Geoff Dyer, Kathrin Hille and James Kynge on the Chen Guangcheng case

In a statement, Mrs Clinton said: “Mr Chen has a number of understandings with the Chinese government about his future, including the opportunity to pursue higher education in a safe environment. Making these commitments a reality is the next crucial task.”

Initially, human rights activists and political observers hailed the apparent deal as a victory for Mr Chen and a potentially significant step by Beijing towards strengthening the rule of law.

But Mr Chen told the Associated Press in a phone interview that he had agreed to the deal only under threat from the Chinese government that was relayed to him by a US embassy official. He said that Chinese authorities had threatened to beat his wife to death if he did not leave the embassy, adding that he now wanted to leave the country.

Two friends of the activist also said Mr Chen had told them that he had not left the embassy voluntarily.

“Guangcheng did not want to leave the embassy but he had no other choice,” said Zeng Jinyan, another activist and a friend of Mr Chen, in a tweet.

Ms Zeng said according to Yuan Weijing [Mr Chen’s wife], local officials had already entered the place where she was staying in Beijing and had installed security cameras there, in what appeared to be a continuation of the intimidatory tactics the family has endured in Mr Chen’s home town for years.

Mr Chen, a farmer’s son who lost his eyesight before the age of one, has inspired many Chinese because he has been trying to help others despite his own handicap. Mr Chen did not learn to read and write until he was grown up but trained himself in the law and subsequently helped villagers pursue their rights through the courts, in particular to protest against illegal enforced sterilisations and abortions.

His activism landed him in jail but even after returning home in late 2010, local authorities kept him and his family under house arrest.

The Chinese foreign ministry had on Wednesday accused the US of using “abnormal methods” to take a Chinese citizen into the embassy and expressed “strong dissatisfaction”. A ministry spokesman said the US had interfered in China’s internal politics and that China could never accept this.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2012. You may share using our article tools.
Please don’t cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

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Re: Did the Obama abandon Chen Guangcheng?

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Was U.S. Duped by China on Dissident Deal?

By Rick Moran On May 3, 2012

In Daily Mailer,FrontPage

A deal negotiated by US and Chinese officials regarding the fate of human rights activist Chen Guangcheng appeared to be unraveling Wednesday night as friends of the dissident claim he was coerced into leaving the US embassy where he had sought refuge for six days after escaping from house arrest nearly two weeks ago. It appears that in the interest of removing a bone of contention between the two countries in advance of bi-lateral talks that start on Thursday, the US may have hastily negotiated an agreement that the Chinese might have no intention of honoring, thus putting the human rights activist’s life — and that of his family — in danger.

The deal would have seen Chen released to a local hospital for treatment of his leg, injured in his daring escape from house arrest. The Chinese would have then allowed him to reunite with his family and move to a university town where he could continue his legal studies. The Chinese also promised that he would face no more legal issues and that the oppressive authorities in his hometown would be punished for their extra-legal detention of the activist.

From his hospital bed, Chen reached out to several news services, saying he had changed his mind and now wanted to leave China, a request he did not make while sheltered by the embassy because he was unaware that he and his family were in danger. He also claimed that an American official had told him that he had been advised by a Chinese government official that if he didn’t leave the embassy, they would beat his wife to death. The State Department strongly denies that charge, saying no American official told Mr. Chen anything except that if he didn’t leave the embassy, his wife would be sent home from Beijing.

The confusion surrounding the deal has the potential to upend the economic and security talks between the two countries that begin on Thursday. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are in Beijing for bi-lateral talks that will touch on security issues like Iran and North Korea as well as economic matters like China’s currency policies and its huge trade surplus with the US.

Shortly after Chen’s release, the Chinese foreign ministry issued a blistering statement, demanding that the US apologize for sheltering Chen and for interfering in the internal affairs of China. And American officials who were staying with Chen at the hospital were ordered to leave, replaced by a cordon of plainclothes policemen who limited access to the activist. It is unclear whether the Chinese will follow through and live up to their end of the bargain, which has caused Chen to change his mind about staying in China and is now pleading with US officials to **noallow** his passage to America for himself and his family.

Chen, who fought government officials in his rural province for years over their forced abortion policy and other outrages, told the Associated Press that he fears for his family’s safety. His lawyer, Teng Biao, told the Washington Post, “He felt his safety is threatened. He feels pressure now,” Teng said. “In fact, from his language, I can tell that the decision to leave the embassy was not 100 percent his idea,” he added.

In an emailed statement to the New York Times, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland denied the claim that Chen was coerced into leaving the embassy:

At no time did any U.S. official speak to Chen about physical or legal threats to his wife and children, nor did Chinese officials make any such threats to us. U.S. interlocutors did make clear that if Chen elected to stay in the embassy, Chinese officials had indicated to us that his family would be returned to Shandong, and they would lose their opportunity to negotiate for reunification.


Chen told Reuters that the reason he changed his mind about staying in China was because, once in the hospital, he was able to speak to his wife, who told him of his family being menaced by authorities. “When I was inside the American embassy, I didn’t have my family, and so I didn’t understand some things. After I was able to meet them, my ideas changed.” He also made a personal appeal in a CNN interview to President Obama to help him escape China with his family because he feared for his life after learning that his wife had been bound and beaten following his escape:

She was tied to a chair by police for two days. Then they carried thick sticks to our house, threatening to beat her to death. Now they have moved into the house. They eat at our table and use our stuff. Our house is teeming with security — on the roof and in the yard. They installed seven surveillance cameras inside the house and built electric fences around the yard.

The fact that the Chen incident threatened to overshadow the bi-lateral talks with China and that the US was desperate to make a deal in order to remove Chen as an irritant prior to the meetings gives credence to the dissident’s charges of coercion — despite the denials by US officials. But it is clear that Chen changed the parameters of the deal himself when he performed an about-face and indicated he wanted US help to leave the country. This was not part of the original bargain and his request has American diplomats scrambling to explain their actions, as well as control the political damage that has exploded back in America.

One outspoken critic of China’s abysmal human rights policies, Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), criticized the Obama administration for not granting Chen asylum. “There are no safe places in China for dissidents,” said Smith. “Going to the hospital is no different from going to the police station.”

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in a statement, “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.”

Bob Fu, who helped Chen escape house arrest and who heads the ChinaAid Association that assists dissidents in China, said simply, “The U.S. government has abandoned Chen” and that the Chinese government is “using his family as a hostage.”

And Paul Gregory, writing in Forbes, says the US should feel ashamed. “We have sacrificed a fundamental moral issue for commercial and political gain. We should have welcomed Chen in the embassy as we did Fang Lizhi and demanded that Chen’s wife and son be delivered to the safety of the U.S. Embassy, after which negotiations on Chen could begin.”

Indeed, it is not unprecedented for the US to shelter dissidents at our embassies in foreign countries. Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty, a leader of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising, took refuge in the US embassy in Budapest when Soviet tanks rolled in to crush the rebellion. He stayed for 15 years. He was eventually permitted to leave Hungary in 1971.

The unseemly rush to deliver Mr. Chen back into the hands of his oppressors was a product of politics, not diplomacy. President Obama can’t afford a foreign policy embarrassment in an election year and the Chinese were very angry that we allowed Chen sanctuary in the embassy. There’s no telling what the Chinese would have done if Chen was still under American protection once the talks started between the two governments.

The statement by the official Chinese news agency hints at how angry Beijing is at what it considers US meddling in its internal affairs. Liu Weimin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, in comments reported by the state-run news agency Xinhua, called the U.S. activity “interference in Chinese domestic affairs, and this is totally unacceptable to China.” Liu added, “China demands that the United States apologize over this, thoroughly investigate this incident, punish those who are responsible and give assurances that such incidents will not happen again.”

Secretary Clinton spoke to Chen by phone immediately after he left the embassy for the hospital and welcomed the agreement with the Chinese, saying it “reflected his choices and our values.” At that time, as Reuters points out, “What initially appeared to be a foreign policy success for the Obama administration could quickly turn into a liability.”

Given the suspicion of many human rights activists have that the government could easily renege on the agreement with Chen, one wonders what sort of “values” to which Ms. Clinton was referring.


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Defection Denied


Vice President’s office behind turning away of senior Chinese defector from consulate in China

BY: Bill Gertz -May 1, 2012

The office of Vice President Joe Biden overruled State and Justice Department officials in denying the political asylum request of a senior Chinese communist official last February over fears the high-level defection would upset the U.S. visit of China’s vice president, according to U.S. officials.

The defector, Wang Lijun, was turned away after 30 hours inside the U.S. Consulate Chengdu and given over to China’s Ministry of State Security, the political police and intelligence service.

Wang has not been seen since Feb. 7 and remains under investigation. His attempt to flee China set off a major power struggle within the ruling Communist Party and led to the ouster of leftist Politburo member Bo Xilai and the arrest of his wife on murder charges.

New disclosures on the handling of the failed defection come as the Obama administration is facing a new test of its relations with Beijing over another defection, the flight to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing of Chen Guangcheng, a blind human rights activist who is believed to be in hiding there.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was scheduled to leave Monday night for talks with the Chinese in Beijing as part of what is called the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. The Obama administration has sought to downplay Beijing’s human rights abuses as part of its foreign policy toward China.

According to officials familiar with internal discussions on the Wang case, the rejection of his asylum request may have violated the 1980 U.S. Refugee Act, a law championed by Michael H. Posner, currently assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor. United Nations human rights conventions on handling threatened refugees also may have been ignored, the officials said.

During interagency discussions over the attempted Wang defection, which played out during a tense standoff in China Feb. 6 and 7, Posner and other senior officials argued that the Chinese official should be granted asylum and helped out of China so he could appear before a federal judge in California.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland declined to comment on the administration’s handling of Wang’s defection.

During the 30-hour incident in Chengdu, the consulate exchanged at least three cables with the State Department on what to do with Wang, a former police chief and anti-organized crime investigator who had run afoul of his boss, Chongqing Communist Party chief Bo.

According to the officials, Wang entered the consulate, located in a neighboring province from the large metropolis of Chongqing, and met with three consulate officials.

His presence and appeal for asylum triggered a debate within the Obama administration over whether to grant him political asylum.

The question posed to Wang after the exchange of three cables between the consulate and the State Department was whether Wang feared for his safety. At one point he said yes, his life was threatened as a result of a falling out with his boss, Bo Xilai. As evidence, Wang provided information indicating Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, had been involved in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, who was found dead in a Chongqing hotel last November.

The acknowledgement of the threat to his safety was the key element of the interagency debate that involved officials from State Department, including Posner and Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asia, along with Justice Department and National Security Council staff officials who met via teleconference.

In the end, Antony Blinken, Biden’s national security adviser, successfully prevailed over other officials in arguing that Wang’s asylum appeal should be rejected.

Blinken, according to the officials, feared China would cancel the upcoming visit by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, whose visit was to be hosted by Biden, unless Wang was sent away from the consulate as soon as possible.

During Xi’s visit, he and Biden met with Jeffrey Katzenberg—the head of DreamWorks Animation and multi-million dollar donor to President Obama’s Super PAC—to negotiate a business deal. DreamWorks is now under investigation by the SEC for possibly bribing Chinese officials during that deal’s negotiations.

White House spokesmen did not return emails seeking comment.

Posner, the State Department human rights official, favored helping Wang get out of the country. He argued that the 1980 law should be applied. Posner did not respond to multiple emails on the affair.

During his stay at the consulate, Wang was asked directly if he feared for his personal safety and answered that he did, thus meeting the criteria for asylum under both the 1980 law and the U.N. Human Rights Convention.

Members of Congress, including Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, were briefed on the affair during a closed-door briefing on Thursday, April 26. A committee spokesman declined to comment on the briefing.

Ros-Lehtinen on Monday urged the Obama administration to protect dissident Chen Guangcheng and his family from “continued persecution by the Chinese regime.”

“The U.S. must work to protect Chen and his family, not hand him over to Chinese authorities to face almost certain persecution,” she said in a statement.

Ros-Lehtinen accused the administration of making a calculated decision “not to challenge the Chinese regime on its dismal human rights record.”

“This is an opportunity to correct that mistake,” the Florida Republican said. “Instead of continuing to bury the issue, Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton and [Treasury] Secretary [Timothy] Geithner must raise human rights publicly and in their meetings with Chinese officials this week.”

Earlier, Ros-Lehtinen said during a March committee hearing that the administration may have turned away a high-level asylum seeker by rejecting Wang’s appeal for help.

An official Chinese government report read to Party members in March said Wang filled out an asylum request during his stay in the Chengdu consulate.

“The possibility that the administration turned away an asylum seeker and, possibly, a high-value intelligence source raises a number of serious questions that require immediate answers,” Ros-Lehtinen said.

In an apparent attempt by the White House to minimize the role played by President Obama in the affair, a senior administration official told the Wall Street Journal last week that the president was informed about the affair but had no “direct” role in the decision to turn him away.

The official was quoted as saying a “firewall” exists between the White House and State Department on political asylum issues, an indication that legal considerations played a factor in the handling of the case.

The administration appears sensitive to the prospect of another scandal following disclosures about U.S. Secret Service agents and military personnel engaging the services of prostitutes while preparing for the president’s visit to Colombia.

The administration is also seeking to dampen any potential political fallout relating to the Wang case during the election campaign.

Regarding dissident Chen Guangcheng, the human rights group ChinaAid Association reported that Chen’s case should not be handled like Wang’s.

ChinaAid said in a statement issued Saturday that Chen is “under U.S. protection,” according to a source close to the dissident.

“This is a pivotal moment for U.S. human rights diplomacy,” said ChinaAid President Bob Fu. “Because of Chen’s wide popularity, the Obama administration must stand firmly with him or risk losing credibility as a defender of freedom and the rule of law. If there is a reason why Chinese dissidents revere the U.S., it is for a moment like this.”

Rather than turning him away as occurred in the Wang case, the group said, Chen should be handled like the 1989 case of dissident Fang Lizhi, who was allowed to stay 13 months inside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing until Chinese authorities allowed him to leave the country.

U.S. officials said Fang’s stay was approved personally by then-President George H.W. Bush, who authorized U.S. officials to escort Fang to the Embassy.

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Re: Defection Denied

Chen Guangcheng was ready 'to spend many years' in US embassy

 The Guardian ^ | 05/03/2012 | Tania Branigan in Beijing and agencies


Blind Chinese Human Rights activist causes diplomatic crisis after asking Hillary Clinton to take him back to the US on her plane.

The blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng was prepared to spend years in the US embassy in Beijing if necessary as he weighed his next move after escaping house arrest, the US ambassador has said.

But the future of the "barefoot lawyer" and his family is now uncertain, after he agreed to a deal allowing him to stay in China and study, with assurances from the government, only to then change his mind and ask to go to the US.

Chen, who is now in a Beijing hospital, said in a phone interview with the Guardian that he was worried about his health, the safety of relatives still in his home town and his lack of communication with the outside world. "I can't go out. No friends visit me. For a time, my cellphone did not work last night so I worry so much about my relatives back home.

"There are many people around my home with sticks and they have installed closed circuit cameras. I heard they are putting an electric fence around my home."

His health is another worry. "My condition is not very good. The blood in my stool is still very serious, and my leg is broken and in plaster," he said, before the phone was cut off.

His dramatic escape from 19 months of illegal house arrest in his home village in eastern Shandong province led to five days of difficult negotiations involving Chen, the US and Chinese officials.

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Re: Did the Obama abandon Chen Guangcheng?

Chen Guangcheng Ignored by Hillary Clinton  

Daniel Halper