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Embassy Row: The Chen saga
Question of the Day
“Only when Mr. Chen arrives on American soil and is granted political asylum will we know that this issue is resolved and his freedom and safety are assured,” the Florida Republican said.
Mr. Chen on Sunday complained that Chinese officials are preventing him from meeting with U.S. diplomats to make arrangements for the transfer from Chaoyang Hospital, ringed by Chinese police, back to the U.S. Embassy.
Mr. Chen’s plight created a diplomatic crisis last week when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner arrived in Beijing for talks with top-level officials. Mr. Chen had been granted refuge in the U.S. Embassy, and U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke was negotiating with Chinese authorities to transfer the dissident to a hospital for medical treatment.
Mr. Chen injured him foot when he escaped from house arrest in northeastern China last month. A self-taught lawyer, Mr. Chen had angered officials in Shandong province for exposing local abuses against women who violated China’s forced abortion law on one-child families.
Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen criticized U.S. diplomats who allowed Mr. Chen to leave the embassy. Mr. Locke said Mr. Chen wanted to leave the diplomatic compound but demanded pledges from Chinese authorities that they would not retaliate against him or his family.
Before Mrs. Clinton departed Beijing, Chinese authorities announced that they would allow Mr. Chin, his wife and their daughter to travel to the United States, where he has been offered a fellowship to study at New York University.
However, Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen warned that U.S. officials “must not assume Beijing will actually allow this to happen.”
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
• Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, who addresses the Center for Strategic and International Studies and receives a distinguished leadership award from the Atlantic Council.
• Defense Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie of China, who meets with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta.
• Prince Harry of Great Britain, who receives a distinguished leadership award from the Atlantic Council.
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About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
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