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Right Turn
Posted at 05:24 PM ET, 05/03/2012

Chen Guangcheng’s face-saving deal?

Guo Yushan, a friend of Chen Guangcheng and a fellow human rights activist in China, was able to speak with Chen and post via Twitter the following from Chen. (It was passed on to Right Turn by a U.S. human rights activist.):

1.Guangcheng never said to media that he wanted political asylum. What he said is that he just wanted to go to the US to rest for a few months. He has a letter of invitation from the NYU, and he is a free person, so he wants to go travel for a while and then come back to China. For this reasons [sic], there is no change of mind on his part. He maintains great respect for Sino-American foreign relations’ hard work, and knows there is no such thing as a small matter in foreign relations, that every agreement, even if already reached, naturally still has its serious aspects.
2.He never directly or indirectly said the US embassy coerced him to leave or forced him to do so of his own volition, and is extremely grateful to Secretary of State Clinton, Ambassador Locke and all those who did so much for him, and never indirectly or directly blamed them.
3.The first day he entered the hospital, there was indeed some unfortunate things that happened and inconvenienced and made his life hard for him and his family, but most notably information that officials in his home in Shandong had threatened his wife. He hopes that as the world looks on, the Chinese government will, in accordance with the law, deal with the local Shandong officials for all of the illegal thing they have done to him and his family.
4.Guangcheng is deeply grateful to media from all over the world who have covered his story and cared about him, and hopes that media will forgive the complicated and confusing situation, and hopes they will understand and respond to his thoughts and emotions tied to them. He hopes that he will not bring trouble or cause misunderstandings for everyone who has helped him and is helping him, for example, the US embassy which has helped him, and because he never criticized them, on the contrary, he is deeply grateful for their help.

What to make of this? It has the hallmarks of a possible face-saver. Chen would not be seeking asylum, you see; just visiting law school in New York for a bit. What of his family? One would assume they’d come too. For a few months, you see.

The Post, meanwhile, has heard directly from Chen. He reiterated that he wasn’t forced from the embassy, but now the Chinese, he said, are not “obeying the agreement well.”

All of these smoke signals and winks and nods would not be needed, of course, had U.S. officials carefully played out the various options and explained each — being clear that, once he left the U.S. Embassy, he’d be at the mercy of the Chinese thugocracy that reportedly had beaten his wife.

Let’s hope that the minuet comes to a satisfactory end and Chen and his family can get out of his grip of the Chinese authorities and get to the United States.

By  |  05:24 PM ET, 05/03/2012

 
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