The story of Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese dissident who took safe haven at the U.S. embassy in Beijing last week, should have been a cause for American pride. Chen, who has been an outspoken critic of the forcible sterilizations and abortions that accompany China’s one-child policy has served time in prison and, more recently, house arrest for daring to challenge the communist regime’s barbarism. By providing him refuge, the U.S. was fulfilling its traditional role as a defender of freedom throughout the world. Until yesterday, that is.
On Wednesday, Chen left the American embassy amidst coos of delight from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Here’s how Politico reported Clinton’s reaction:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her support for a deal with China that allowed activist Chen Guangcheng to leave the American embassy in Beijing without fear of arrest.
“I am pleased that we were able to facilitate Chen Guangcheng’s stay and departure from the U.S. embassy in a way that reflected his choices and our values,” Clinton said in a statement. “I was glad to have the chance to speak with him today and to congratulate him on being reunited with his wife and children.”
With apologies to the secretary, this hardly looks like a triumph of “his choices and our values.” Here’s the Associated Press report shortly after Chen’s release:
On Wednesday, after six days holed up inside the American embassy, he emerged and was taken to a nearby hospital. U.S. officials said they had extracted from the Chinese government a promise that Chen would reunite with his family and be allowed to start a new life in a university town.
Hours later, however, a shaken Chen told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his hospital room that U.S. officials told him the Chinese authorities would have sent his family back to his home province if he remained inside the embassy. He added that, at one point, the U.S. officials told him his wife would have been beaten to death.
“I think we’d like to rest in a place outside of China,” Chen said, appealing again for help from U.S. officials. “Help my family and me leave safely.”
If this is true, it represents nothing short of a moral stain on the State Department. This should come as no surprise, however. I noted over three years ago at RealClearWorld that this sort of amoral policy stance towards China looked to be a hallmark of the Obama/Clinton foreign policy:
When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Beijing in February , she told her Chinese hosts that “Our pressing on [human rights] issues can’t interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis.” Translation: don’t think about standing in front of a tank anytime soon. While America’s economic dependence on China is undeniable given the profligate spending that we have indulged thanks to Beijing’s line of credit, voicing that reality out loud is destined to crush the spirit of the friends of liberty in the Far East. How many Tibetan monks will be able to take inspiration from the Declaration of Independence if they think it truthfully reads “all men are created equal … but some hold hundreds of billions of dollars in American treasury bonds”?
Of course, these days the Dalai Lama visits the White House (when he’s invited at all) through the back door, next to the trash heaps. That’s a not-so-subtle metaphor for what Cheng Guancheng is experiencing at our hands now. All involved from the American side should be ashamed.