Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Trouble With Chen

Said Wen: "Mr. Chen has offended,
With the shelter the Yanks have extended,
And no other gent
In the ranks of dissent
Has quite so offended as Chen did."

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to China has been overshadowed, and nearly derailed, by the case of Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng. Mr. Chen, a self-taught lawyer who has campaigned against China's policy of forced sterilization and abortion, escaped house arrest in his native Shandong and sough asylum in the US embassy in Beijing. Evidently trying hard not to anger their nationalistic hosts, US diplomats worked behind the scenes for Mr. Chen's "voluntary" exit from their protection, with solemn warnings to Beijing to respect his human rights. For his part, the activist now openly fears for the safety of himself and his family, and wants to leave the country. It's just one more example of how things are never simple when two big trading partners with radically different political systems attempt to negotiate both commercially and politically.

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