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Diplomatic case of Chen Guangcheng puts US-China ties in proper perspective

May 08, 2012

Reflecting on the diplomatic tensions that arose in Beijing when pro-life activist Chen Guangcheng sought refuge at the American embassy, columnist William McGurn of the Wall Street Journal acknowledges that the affair was awkwardly timed, coming just before important trade talks between top Chinese and American officials. But fundamental questions of human rights are never irrelevant, McGurn argues, and the “inconvenient” appearance of Chen Guangcheng helped put bilateral relations in perspective:

That's where dissidents like Mr. Chen come in. They remind us of something we can forget in our enthusiasm to negotiate: We do well to be skeptical about how much trust to repose in agreements with a government that would beat up and detain a blind lawyer, clap a Nobel Peace Prize winner into prison, or tell Chinese families how many children they can have.


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