By PAUL RODERICK GREGORY, May 2, 2012, Forbes
We only know that blind dissident Chen Guangcheng is in a Chinese hospital out of the range of American protection. According to preliminary reports, Chen was pressured by U.S. officials to leave the embassy. Chen, knowing the consequences, would have left American protection only to save his family. During his house arrest, Chen’s wife had been severely beaten. Unconfirmed but believable reports suggest Chinese authorities threatened to beat her to death. His escape and appearance at the U.S. embassy so outraged and unnerved Chinese officials that Chen knew that they would not hesitate to carry out their threat.
If this account is true, the United States should be ashamed. We have sacrificed a fundamental moral issue for commercial and political gain. We should have welcomed Chen in the embassy as we did Fang Lizhi and demanded that Chen’s wife and son be delivered to the safety of the U.S. Embassy, after which negotiations on Chen could begin.
Chinese dissidents now understand that the U.S. is a paper tiger worried more about the Chinese exchange rate and United Nations vetoes than about fundamental issues of human rights. Events of the last few months should have taught us that China is far from a “normal” country. We do not have to spare the hurt feelings of the polite gentlemen in impeccable business suits that rule China. I wonder if the U.S. will receive any tangible benefits from its cowardice?
We should thank CNN. It seems to be the main source of news on this story.