Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

US diplomacy arranged a precarious future for Chen Guangcheng

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | May 02, 2012

When the Chinese human-rights activists Chen Guangcheng left the US embassy in Beijing, where he has sought refuge after a dramatic escape from house arrest, American officials assured the world that the Chinese government had promised that Chen and his family would be unharmed. But:

  • If the Beijing government made any promises, we haven’t seen them on paper. What we have seen is a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry denouncing the US for “interference in Chinese domestic affairs” and demanding an official apology.
  • There are now reports that Chen did not leave the US embassy voluntarily, but acted under duress, after Chinese officials threatened his family.
  • Chen left the US embassy, willingly or not, just as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived for diplomatic talks with Chinese government officials. Those talks—like all talks between China and the US these days—would center on the willingness of China to continue purchasing US government debt.

No doubt the US embassy wishes Chen the best. But were American diplomats willing to incur the wrath of Beijing by harboring a dissident? During the Cold War, Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty was harbored in the US embassy in Budapest for 15 years. But at the time, the US did not rely on Hungary to keep purchasing the bonds that float the national debt.

“The Obama administration regards the blind Chinese human rights activist as a speed bump on the Clinton-Geithner Road Show to China,” charges Steven Mosher, the head of the Population Research Institute. Is he too cynical? It’s possible. But if you’re confident that Beijing will not punish Chen Guangcheng and his family because of some vague promise to American diplomats, you’re not nearly cynical enough.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach five million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our April expenses ($18,914 to go):
$35,000.00 $16,086.48
54% 46%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Defender - May. 02, 2012 6:59 PM ET USA

    I can think of a few different scenarios: Since China always attempts to control all (persons, religion, travel, etc), we'll never see Chen again (they can and do send people to prison w/o charge, etc, too) or there might be an arrangement to send Chen and his family out of the country for "medical care" somewhere else. As the U.S. has its hat in-hand, China holds all the aces. This administration has made a mockery of human rights, both domestically and now in foreign policy.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 3: Ecclesiastical Discipline April 17
The Holy Spirit and Evangelization: A Primer April 16
Journey to the Sun: A Strange Biography of Junípero Serra April 16
Russia's demographic recovery + US demographic decline = danger April 16
James Carroll strikes (at the Church) again April 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis's Easter Message 'Urbi et Orbi' (To the City and the World): full text, link to video CWN - 6 hours ago
Pope Francis: Easter Vigil homily (full text) CWN - 7 hours ago