“Help my family and I leave safely.”

Posted on | May 2, 2012 by Wendy Wright |


Question:
If Chen is out of Clinton’s sight, will he be out of mind?

Did Obama throw Chen Guangcheng under the bus?

The blind attorney who exposed China’s brutal forced abortion program left the U.S. embassy for a hospital to treat an injury incurred during his escape from house imprisonment. Left alone by State Department officials, he now fears for his family’s lives, saying, “I think we’d like to rest in a place outside of China.”

He asked a reporter to get a message to human rights hero Rep. Chris Smith: “Help my family and I leave safely.”

Chen and his supporters say he was pressured to leave the embassy with threats that, if he didn’t, Chinese officials would beat his wife to death. The State Department disputes that they relayed those threats.

“The embassy told me that they would have someone accompany me the whole time,” he told the AP. “But today when I got to the ward, I found that there was not a single embassy official here, and so I was very unsatisfied. I felt they did not tell me the truth on this issue.”

Chen’s escape into US protection just days before high-level meetings put the Obama administration and Chinese officials in crisis mode. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who initially abandoned human rights in discussions with China but more recently has mentioned it in speeches, stated the deal reached for Chen to leave the embassy, “reflected his choices and our values.”

The website Foreign Policy reports:

In the end, the deal they negotiated seemed to offer Chen promises, but no real guarantees. As outlined by the Americans, it included the following: a promise not only to reunite Chen with his wife and two children but also that he “will be treated humanely,” that U.S officials would have access to him in the hospital; that he would ultimately be “relocated to a safe environment,” and would have the opportunity to attend a university to continue his self-guided studies in law. There was no word on the other human rights activists who have apparently been rounded up in recent days after helping Chen’s escape; only the American officials urging the authorities “to take no retribution” against them.

Foreign Policy noted “the agreement appears to contain few hard assurances that China will keep its end of the bargain.”

Chen’s departure from the U.S. embassy took place a day before high-level meetings between Secretary Clinton and Chinese officials on trade and other issues. Clinton has been criticized for abandoning human rights and ignoring China’s abuse of women with its one-child policy.

The U.S. and China had predicted that Chen’s case would not overshadow the meeting.

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Turtle Bay and Beyond is a blog covering international law, policy and institutions. Our experts - at the UN, European Institutions, and elsewhere - explore an authentic understanding of international law, sovereignty, and the dignity of the human person. We expose those who would seek to impose a radical social vision that is contrary to these principles.

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