Chinese Activist, Now in New York, Takes a Harder Look at Beijing

Discussion in 'China' started by JAYRAM, Jun 22, 2012.

  1. JAYRAM

    JAYRAM 2 STRIKE CORPS Senior Member

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    June 18, 2012, 11:26 pm

    By MARK MCDONALD

    [​IMG]

    Chen Guangcheng with his wife, Yuan Weijing, in New York on Monday.

    BANGKOK — Even after years of detention, rough treatment and harassment in his rural village in China, Chen Guangcheng seemed to hold tight to the belief that Beijing was a shining city on a hill, a place where officials in the central government — if they only knew — would look favorably on his efforts to win legal rights for beleaguered plaintiffs over illegal land grabs and forced abortions.

    The human rights activist, speaking to my colleague Erik Eckholm, now sees less shine and more tarnish on the central government.

    Erik, who interviewed Mr. Chen on Monday at New York University, writes that Mr. Chen has seen no signs of “an honest inquiry into what many experts call his blatantly illegal treatment over the years, retaliation for agitating on behalf of the disabled, farmers and women who were forced to have abortions.”

    “Sounding more defiant than he did right after his arrival on May 19, he threatened to embarrass the Chinese government severely if they did not act soon,” Erik writes.

    “If they don’t open an investigation in a timely manner, I will quickly make my next step,” said Mr. Chen, 40. “Then the central government will not have an opportunity to be the good guy.”

    His escape in April from house arrest in rural Shandong Province is now well-known — scaling the wall around his house in the night, breaking a foot, stumbling through farm fields while dodging local security goons, linking up with a getaway car, then making his way hundreds of miles to Beijing, where U.S. diplomats outhustled the Chinese police to whisk him into the embassy.

    A diplomatic crisis ensued, and after tense negotiations between American and Chinese officials, Mr. Chen was allowed to go to the United States with his family.

    A newly published interview with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton substantiates Mr. Chen’s accommodating view of Beijing at the time of his escape, with Mrs. Clinton saying that “he was clear that he didn’t hold the national authorities responsible” for the harsh treatment of him and his relatives.

    “He really focused his ire and fear on the local authorities who had mistreated him,” Mrs. Clinton says in the interview in Foreign Policy magazine. “And he had this idea that if only the authorities in Beijing knew what was happening to him, they would help me and my family.”

    Mrs. Clinton spoke at length in Beijing to Susan Glasser, editor in chief of Foreign Policy, soon after a deal had been struck for Mr. Chen’s passage to America. (Ms. Glasser suggests that the hard-bargaining Chinese diplomats might have capitulated on a deal with a Secretary of State Clinton because they were “investing in a future with a possible President Clinton.” Mrs. Clinton offered no on-the-record response.)

    An excerpt of Mrs. Clinton’s remarks on Mr. Chen’s case, slightly compressed for space:

    It was a very personally poignant tale. I have followed this guy. I’ve talked about him. I’ve raised him with the Chinese. He has an incredible, almost — whatever the Chinese equivalent of a Horatio Alger story is. So we were . . . guided by his choices and our values. And we tried very hard to understand what he wanted. And he came into the embassy saying from the very beginning, “I don’t want to leave my country. I want to stay in China. But I want to be able to pursue my studies. I want to live a more meaningful life instead of being kept imprisoned in my house in my province in my home village.”

    Actually, I thought that was a very courageous and thoughtful response. And we worked to understand what he wanted, and then we worked with the Chinese to create the circumstances in which he could pursue that, including having his family with him. He hadn’t seen his son for a year, I think. And he never — I mean, he was in such a terrible dilemma because when he escaped, he couldn’t take his wife and his daughter. So he’s alone in Beijing; he needs medical treatment. He actually broke his foot coming over the wall.

    And we saw this as an opportunity not only to work with the Chinese government on his particular case, but to really extend our intensive dialogue about human rights and rule of law . . .

    Mr. Chen has since been given visiting scholar status at New York University. He and his wife, Yuan Weijing, and their two children are staying in a faculty apartment in Greenwich Village.

    “Their children, ages 6 and 10, are attending a public school and picking up English, while Mr. Chen and Ms. Yuan study English for two hours every morning,” Erik writes. “Mr. Chen spends many afternoons meeting legal experts one on one, learning about the American Constitution and the United States legal system — starting, he made a point of saying, with the Declaration of Independence. He plans to learn about disability law, among other topics.”

    Ms. Glasser’s interview and an accompanying piece take note of Mrs. Clinton’s emphasis on Asia, starting with making the region her first overseas destination as secretary of state — “a break with tradition meant to signal the region’s newfound strategic importance.”

    She quotes an aide to Mrs. Clinton about advice offered by previous secretaries of state: “You’ve got to look to Asia because there’s a lot of work to be done there. There’s a sense out there that we’ve kind of turned our back on them, that we’re just not as present, as engaged, and China’s going like gangbusters.”

    Ms. Glasser also asked Mrs. Clinton about her remarks in 2009 that human rights were only a part of the U.S. foreign policy portfolio with China:

    I was here 17 years ago saying women’s rights are human rights and the Chinese violate women’s rights all the time, and they pulled the plug on broadcasting my speech. And so it’s not like I was coming to the Chinese new to this.

    I have been an advocate for human rights and women’s rights as long as they’ve known of me, and I had heated arguments with Jiang Zemin over Tibet.

    So I also needed to send a signal to them saying, “Look, I’m now secretary of state. I carry this whole portfolio, and human rights is an important, essential part of it, but there’s a lot of other business we have to get done.” So yes, am I going to raise human rights? Absolutely.


    Chinese Activist, Now in New York, Takes a Harder Look at Beijing - NYTimes.com
     
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  3. fzaq

    fzaq Regular Member

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    good for him he's im Us now. what about his family left in china?
     
  4. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    I believe that his wife and children are all with him in USA.
    From now on, he will be forgotten just as other pro-democratic activists by Chinese.
     
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    His being outside China will allow him unfettered liberty to lash out at China and that will be a great coup for human rights activists.

    It will be a huge embarrassment for China.

    However, to be fair to China, it would be worth checking how far what he says is true and how far what he says is a a reaction for his anger with the Chinese authorities.
     
  6. huaxia rox

    huaxia rox Senior Member Senior Member

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    mr chen and his family were treated unfairly when they were in prc and mr chen used to do a lot of good deeds for chinese people.......this is truth and no more excuses r needed here no matter if he or his family will be forgotten in the future......if chinese ourselves cant understand this and side with the coward cpc gov on this thing then it ll be a real shame in chinese history.....
     
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    If he has done good, why should the Chinese forget him and his deeds?

    Odd logic!

    Has China forgotten Sun Yat Sen or Mao Tse Tung?
     
  8. ice berg

    ice berg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Odd logic. He is not exactly in the same league as Sun and Mao.
     
  9. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    He still is a human!

    Who has done good deeds as is being said.

    Now, is that odd logic?

    Even Bo shall be remember for his development activities that changed the face of where he did it!

    So why not Chen?

    On this forum we remember with fondness OHImalaya and KickOK even though they don't post! They posted many great posts!

    We also remember Nimo too for other reasons.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012
  10. huaxia rox

    huaxia rox Senior Member Senior Member

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    a lot of people who do a lot of good things can be forgotten.....chen is iconic and should not be forgotten...........how hard is this to be comprended???
     
  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Very hard.

    If indeed he is iconic as you say.

    Mother Teresa was also iconic.

    Lest people forget, we have a road named after her so that none forgets.

    Will China have a road named after this iconic figure, as you say he is iconic?

    Should; so that none forgets!
     
  12. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    Why do Chinese have to remember Chen?

    Is it wrong if we forget him? We don't even have the freedom to forget him?
     
  13. huaxia rox

    huaxia rox Senior Member Senior Member

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    if u feel very hard then what else can i say? u can also try to remember jinnah....remember how many good things he did to the creation of india.....without him subcontient can only harbour more than 400 small countries right now......
     
  14. s002wjh

    s002wjh Senior Member Senior Member

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    well now the taxpayer has to pay for him/his family expense, living hood etc
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Read Indian history.

    Indian Independence Act was not the creation of Jinnah!

    It started with the activities of Hume and WC Bonnerjee.
     
  16. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    Yes, he may do some good things for some people. The problem is he has given up.
    By staying in the safe house in USA, he has given up what make him brilliant: standing up to a power far beyond his limits for the good of others.
    By seeking the protection of USA, he is no longer a pure human rights activist. Now, he becomes an icon of sino-usa relationship. From now on, every move and every word of him will be questioned as a result of american instruction.

    He will soon be like other pro-democracy activists: loosing his influnce among chinese public, domestically and internationally.
     

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