Chen Guangcheng, the blind human rights activist who has hung out in the US Embassy in Beijing for the last few days, walked out the front gate and into the waiting arms of Chinese police.
His daring escape from house arrest, where he was supposedly being watched by 90 guards, garnered headlines around the world and caused a minor diplomatic crisis for the Obama administration. For the administration the timing of Chen’s escape could not have been worse. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, arrived on Wednesday for what was to be senior level meetings on economic matters turned into what some have said is the biggest diplomatic crisis since Tiananmen Square.
Most pundits had expected the US and China to reach some sort of asylum agreement, so it was surprising when it was reported that Chen walked out from the Embassy. Later, in an interview with the Associated Press, Chen said, “[The US officials] said if I don’t leave they would take my children and family back to Shandong.” Where Chen was all but certain they would be killed.
Chen Guangcheng, was under house arrest for “destruction of property and assembling a crowd to disrupt traffic.” According to the Washington Post,
Before he was detained in September, Chen had tried to organize a class-action lawsuit against Linyi officials, alleging they were illegally forcing parents with two children to be sterilized and women pregnant with a third child to have abortions. Residents also accused officials of detaining and torturing relatives of people who fled the crackdown.
But is the Obama administration willing to defend a Chinese anti-abortion activist? From its fight over to HHS contraception mandate to withholding Medicaid funds from States that defund Planned Parenthood, this administration is has shown its unwavering commitment to abortion. Joe Biden has gone so far as to defend China’s One Child Policy.
Chen has said that he fears for his safety and the safety of his family. Please let your elected official know that you are concerned for his safety as well.