Clinton Visit Overshadowed by Human Rights Activist
On Wednesday, Hillary Clinton the U.S. Secretary of State arrived in Beijing to have high level economic and strategic talks with the Chinese government. However, those talks were close to being overshadowed by the recent escape from house arrest of blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng. The activist, 40-year old lawyer has exposed forced sterilizations and abortions, as part of the one-child policy instituted by the Chinese government.
Chen was handed over to U.S. diplomats late in the week, last week. On Wednesday, he was taken from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing to a local hospital. He has also been told, said inside sources, that if he left the country, the Chinese government will beat his wife to death.
Sources said the Chinese government told Chen he could leave the country alone and live in exile or stay in China with his family. Chen apparently agreed to stay in China and the U.S. agreed as long as China promised his safety.
Clinton, in a prepared statement said Chen left the U.S. Embassy on his own accord after reflecting on his choices. The resolution of the incident seems to have shelved, at least for the time being an incident that threatened to move the human rights to the forefront of the meetings this week between the two powers.
Now the two governments can discuss ways to build trust between the current world’s superpower and a top rival that is quickly catching up.
Having Chen stay in China could backfire on President Obama, since he will been seen as agreeing to the safety of Chen and not being able to enforce it.