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Chinese human rights dissident abandoned by the administration
EXACTLY when did the United States stop being the "shining city on a hill"? The wan response of the Obama administration to the plight of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng indicates we've slipped in our role as a beacon of freedom to the world's oppressed.
Mr. Chen is in dutch in his homeland for objecting to the country's brutal one-child policy, which includes forced abortions. The self-taught lawyer is blind, so his escape from 19 months of house arrest last week was a near-miracle. On a moonless night, he reportedly climbed over two walls, breaking his foot, yet even so made the 300-mile journey to Beijing.
He took temporary refuge in the U.S. Embassy there. When he left, American officials said it was of his own free will. In reality, emerging reports indicate he was threatened by Chinese officials who said they would beat his wife to death if he stayed in the embassy. American officials accompanied Mr. Chen to a hospital. He says they promised to stay with him, only to skedaddle, leaving him to face Chinese authorities on his own. "I don't know where they went," he said.
Was the imminent arrival of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in China for economic talks, a factor in the embassy's timorous actions? Rep. Frank Wolf, R-10th District, presiding over an emergency meeting of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, blasted the administration for, at best, being "naive in accepting assurances from a government that has a well-known and documented history of brutally repressing its own people."
But statements Mrs. Clinton made in 2009 provide another clue: She said then that human-rights issues would not be allowed to interfere with cooperation "on the global economic crisis [and] the global climate-change crisis."
Looks like she's a woman of her word.