- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: ‘I do’
- Grass-Whopper: Pan-fried cricket burgers go over big in New York City
U.S.: Blind activist wants to leave China
Question of the Day
BEIJING — The Obama administration’s diplomatic predicament deepened Thursday when a blind Chinese legal activist who took refuge in the American Embassy told the U.S. he now wants to go abroad, rejecting a deal that was supposed to keep him safely in China.
Only hours after Chen Guangcheng left the embassy for a hospital checkup and reunion with his family, he began telling friends and foreign media they feel threatened and want to go abroad. At first taken aback at the reversal, the State Department said officials spoke twice by phone with Chen and met with his wife, with both affirming their desire to leave.
Nuland stopped short of saying whether Washington would try to reopen negotiations to get Chen abroad should Beijing agree. “We need to consult with them further to get a better sense of what they want to do and consider their options,” Nuland said.
Chen’s still unresolved fate threatens to erode already shaky trust between Washington and Beijing at a time both governments are trying to contain their ever sharper jostling for influence around the world. His case hovered over Thursday’s opening of two-day talks on global political and economic hotspots led by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and their Chinese counterparts.
Chen remained in the hospital, its grounds ringed by a noticeable police presence, making it unclear how his exit could be arranged, and receiving medical tests.
A self-taught lawyer, Chen, 40, spent most of the last seven years in prison or under house arrest in what was seen as retribution by local authorities for his advocacy against forced abortions and other official misdeeds. His wife, daughter and mother were confined at home with him, enduring beatings, searches and other mistreatment.
His escape from house arrest to the fortress-like U.S. Embassy last week inserted Washington in the center of a human rights case, always a testy issue for Beijing, and at the same time potentially embarrassed Chinese leaders that the country is unable to protect its own citizens.
Chen’s goal, he told U.S. officials, was to secure the safety of his family and remain in China. Under painstaking arrangements negotiated over days, he was to be reunited with his family and relocated outside his home province to a university town where he could formally study law.
But later, in the hospital, Chen felt abandoned by the U.S., finding no embassy staff had stayed behind to assure his protection. His wife, Yuan Weijing — who is staying with him along with his daughter and a son who has been raised by relatives in recent years — began describing the rough interrogation she received once his escape became known and the fight his nephew got involved in when confronted by officials. Chen said he changed his mind, fearing for their safety if they remained in China.
“Yuan Weijing met him and told him what happened to his family, and that his family was tied to chairs and interrogated by police, and that his nephew attacked somebody and is on the run outside and might be in life-threatening dangers,” said Li Jinsong, his lawyer. “These things undoubtedly have left an impact on him.”
U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke defended the arrangements at a news conference Thursday and said “unequivocally” that Chen was never pressured to leave. Locke said Chen left the embassy after talking twice on the telephone with his wife, who was waiting at the hospital.
“It may not be everything that they would like or want, but this is a good proposal and we should take the first step,” Locke said.
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Colorado judge: Bakery owner discriminated against gay couple
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Don't prematurely delist endangered wolves
- Fast-food protests spur backlash
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!