China: We’ll let Chen, er, study abroad

posted at 9:21 am on May 4, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Both China and the US acted overnight to bring an embarrassing string of incidents with dissident Chen Guangcheng to a rapid conclusion.  Beijing announced earlier that they would look favorably on a request from Chen to “study abroad,” which would rid them of the international focus on their repressive regime that suddenly erupted this week:

China’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that the dissident Chen Guangcheng can apply to study outside China in the same manner as more than 300,000 Chinese students already abroad, signaling a possible breakthrough in a diplomatic crisis that has deeply embarrassed the White House and threatens to sour relations with Beijing.

In a two-sentence statement posted on the ministry’s Web site, a spokesman, Liu Weimin, stated that should Mr. Chen wish to study abroad, he “can apply through normal channels to the relevant departments in accordance with the law, just like any other Chinese citizen.”

Speaking later at a press briefing, Mr. Liu said he was certain that “competent Chinese authorities will handle his application in accordance with the law.”

The announcement came hours after Mr. Chen, in a four-point statement conveyed by telephone to a friend, insisted that he did not want to seek political asylum in the United States but that he had been invited to attend New York University and hoped “to go to the United States and rest for several months.”

Not coincidentally, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland announced that Chen had been offered a fellowship at an American university — one apparently to be named later:

“The United States government expects that the Chinese government will expeditiously process his applications for these documents, and make accommodations for his current medical condition,” she said in the statement, adding “the United States government would then give visa requests for him and his immediate family priority attention.”

“This matter has been handled in the spirit of a cooperative U.S.-China partnership,” she said.

She said Mr. Chen has been offered a fellowship from an American university, where he can be accompanied by his wife and two children.

Thus ends, one presumes, the shockingly inept performance from the State Department and the Obama administration in handling the Chen matter.  The State Department all but pushed Chen out of the US embassy in Beijing, reneged on a promise to accompany him to a hospital, and then blamed Chen for the miscommunication.  They let themselves be pushed around by Beijing, which miscalculated exactly how the rest of the world would react to their heavy-handed treatment of the anti-One Child Policy dissident, but that doesn’t let the White House off the hook for its callous abandonment of a democracy activist.  Smart power, indeed.

Thankfully, Chen and his family will soon be safe, and free.  Unfortunately, he won’t be either of those in China, where his work is sorely needed.


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If he is allowed to leave Obama will be claiming credit….

sandee on May 4, 2012 at 9:25 AM

Just glad he’ll be safe.

rbj on May 4, 2012 at 9:26 AM

China won’t have his wife and child, but they’ll have all the friends that helped him escape.

RBMN on May 4, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Looks like it’s suddenly dawned on them that they don’t want to do anything that would hurt 0bama’s re-election chances. Not unexpected.

Tomolena1 on May 4, 2012 at 9:28 AM

China is being very Flexible….

Wonder why?

Electrongod on May 4, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Time for Obama to claim that this was his plan all along.

KingGold on May 4, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Victoria Nuland announced that Chen had been offered a fellowship at an American university — one apparently to be named later:

I’m sure it will be one that fully supports the causes that Chen has embraced while in China……er…./

ted c on May 4, 2012 at 9:31 AM

So is this like the modern day equivalent of being exiled???

earlgrey133 on May 4, 2012 at 9:32 AM

which would rid them of the international focus on their repressive regime that suddenly erupted this week:

I have a different take…I think China wants to take away a very negative campaign issue from Obama…I mean afterall, do you really think that China wants anyone else other than Obama at the helm of this country when the crap hits the fan globally over the next 4-5 years???…and in the process they get rid of a thorn in their side. It’s a win-win for China.

PatriotRider on May 4, 2012 at 9:33 AM

So is this like the modern day equivalent of being exiled???

earlgrey133 on May 4, 2012 at 9:32 AM

Nope…this is the modern day equivalent of a campaign donation to Obama from China…

PatriotRider on May 4, 2012 at 9:36 AM

What do you know.

DarkCurrent on May 4, 2012 at 9:37 AM

So, the anti-abortion lawyer from China will be given asylum by Barack Obortion, the most adamant baby killer in U.S. history? Wonder if Chen knows who he’s getting in bed with.

Western_Civ on May 4, 2012 at 9:37 AM

I don’t think he will be any better off studying broads, he will never figure them out.

echosyst on May 4, 2012 at 9:37 AM

China is being very Flexible….

Wonder why?

Electrongod on May 4, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Why did you expect otherwise?

DarkCurrent on May 4, 2012 at 9:38 AM

In Beijing, the government probably figured getting him out….out of sight out of mind…was a good thing.

Better than keeping him around in China, especially after Chen embarrassed the Chinese government. Chen can’t continue his work inside China. Problem solved.

He’ll be a forgotten nobody shortly after his arrival here. C’mon, a pro-lifer in academia? The Left will make sure he is forgotten, and soon.

In Washington, no matter how they try to sugar coat this whole fiasco, the Administration is still trying to polish a buttock muffin.

coldwarrior on May 4, 2012 at 9:40 AM

I have a different take…I think China wants to take away a very negative campaign issue from Obama…I mean afterall, do you really think that China wants anyone else other than Obama at the helm of this country when the crap hits the fan globally over the next 4-5 years???…and in the process they get rid of a thorn in their side. It’s a win-win for China.

PatriotRider on May 4, 2012 at 9:33 AM

Agreed.

WisRich on May 4, 2012 at 9:40 AM

can apply through normal channels to the relevant departments

And that could take long enough to get him off the front page before ‘normal channels’ are done… and, during some big news period elsewhere, Chen suddenly disappears.

michaelo on May 4, 2012 at 9:43 AM

Spin away lsm

All hail dear leader

cmsinaz on May 4, 2012 at 9:43 AM

I am glad to hear that China will let him leave with his wife and children. I do fear for those that assisted him to get to the Chinese Embassy and other dissidents.

SC.Charlie on May 4, 2012 at 9:45 AM

Chen gets to study abroad?

I’ll bet he can’t wait to meet her.

HeatSeeker2011 on May 4, 2012 at 9:47 AM

I have a different take…I think China wants to take away a very negative campaign issue from Obama…I mean afterall, do you really think that China wants anyone else other than Obama at the helm of this country when the crap hits the fan globally over the next 4-5 years???…and in the process they get rid of a thorn in their side. It’s a win-win for China.

PatriotRider on May 4, 2012 at 9:33 AM

Agreed.

WisRich on May 4, 2012 at 9:40 AM

I’ll take it even further. What if this was a setup by the Chicoms as a little relection gift. Let Obama be the hero and get reelected. Then they have the spineless US President for another four years.

But they miscalculated. He was even more spineless then they thought and screwed the whole thing up.

WisRich on May 4, 2012 at 9:48 AM

I sympathize with Chen.

It’s like the U.S.S. Indianapolis. When you start bleeding, they kick you away.

HeatSeeker2011 on May 4, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Dear leader, I I I I I

cmsinaz on May 4, 2012 at 9:48 AM

I see this as an Obama success, and I’m no Obama fan.

gerry-mittbot

gerrym51 on May 4, 2012 at 9:54 AM

How long before Chen becomes an involuntary organ donor?

teke184 on May 4, 2012 at 9:55 AM

…mmmmmmm…the Commies have changed their mind?…wonder why?
.
.
.
…it’s the ECONOMY stupid…!!!

KOOLAID2 on May 4, 2012 at 9:59 AM

that doesn’t let the White House off the hook for its callous abandonment of a democracy activist. Smart power, indeed.

‘callous abandonment,’ you’re so hard-hitting this morning, ed.

Chen Guangcheng speaks to CNN; says he believes U.S. will help him, expresses “deep gratitude” to American officials in Beijing

Chen also blames a “misunderstanding” for the impression that the U.S. govt. abandoned him in the hospital #cnn

rushing to judgement ftw!

sesquipedalian on May 4, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Çhinas plan is to turn him into a commie by sending him to an american university.

rushlimbang on May 4, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Bleh, the lsm drool fest over this issue

cmsinaz on May 4, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Chinas plan is to turn him into a commie by sending him to an american university.

rushlimbang on May 4, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Winner. Plus, he gets to leave a country where the media is all government propaganda and go to a country where the media is all government propaganda.

+1

The Rogue Tomato on May 4, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Çhinas plan is to turn him into a commie by sending him to an american university.

rushlimbang on May 4, 2012 at 10:07 AM

That’s Obozo’s plan–he’s the commie.

Western_Civ on May 4, 2012 at 10:17 AM

I see this as an Obama success, and I’m no Obama fan.

gerry-mittbot

gerrym51 on May 4, 2012 at 9:54 AM

After the initial bungling, I don’t see it as a success for Him, but as an equalizing “save face” instead.

As DarkCurrent said, this result wasn’t a surprising – China won’t stand for bad PR if they can help it, either.

Bizarro No. 1 on May 4, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Çhinas plan is to turn him into a commie by sending him to an american university.

rushlimbang on May 4, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Heh!

DarkCurrent on May 4, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Çhinas plan is to turn him into a commie by sending him to an american university.

rushlimbang on May 4, 2012 at 10:07 AM

He doesn’t speak English – does he ?

FlaMurph on May 4, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Why did you expect otherwise?

DarkCurrent on May 4, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Because China is famous for disappearing people who give the elites in power any trouble, after which China harvests the troublemaker’s organs and uses his blood to paint the walls of an elite’s new apartment. And the Chinese media never reports any of this.

Whereas in America, we have freedom of speech. If you give the elites in power any trouble here, the worst that can happen to you is that you’ll develop a case of natural causes, which the media will dutifully report as natural causes before a single fact is known about the case. After which there may be any number of totally unrelated deaths.

The Rogue Tomato on May 4, 2012 at 10:36 AM

This story is BS.

Why is this guy getting special treatment from China when we all know the majority of people in China disappear?

Conservatives are fawning all over themselves because this guy “supposedly” revealed that China was using forced abortions. Really? This isn’t news.

China doesn’t want bad PR? China executes people who embarrass it, they don’t give them cell phones and let them call into our Congress or give interviews to news media outlets.

moonsbreath on May 4, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Lsm bashing romney for giving his 2 cents worth natch

cmsinaz on May 4, 2012 at 10:52 AM

“Another strike for The Chosen One!”

M. Scott Eiland on May 4, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Here’s hoping he lives long enough to get through the paperwork to leave China.

trigon on May 4, 2012 at 10:56 AM

This story is BS.

Why is this guy getting special treatment from China when we all know the majority of people in China disappear?

Conservatives are fawning all over themselves because this guy “supposedly” revealed that China was using forced abortions. Really? This isn’t news.

China doesn’t want bad PR? China executes people who embarrass it, they don’t give them cell phones and let them call into our Congress or give interviews to news media outlets.

moonsbreath on May 4, 2012 at 10:49 AM

In fact the high probability of a positive resolution to the situation was easily predictable. Your perception of the reality in China may be a bit distorted if you didn’t see it coming.

DarkCurrent on May 4, 2012 at 11:04 AM

DarkCurrent on May 4, 2012 at 11:04 AM

And you’re gullible.

moonsbreath on May 4, 2012 at 11:07 AM

And you’re gullible.

moonsbreath on May 4, 2012 at 11:07 AM

No, I simply know a lot more about China than you do apparently.

DarkCurrent on May 4, 2012 at 11:09 AM

If he is allowed to “study abroad” then he is a communist in dissidents clothing.
This blind guy crossed the water all by himself and found the American Embassy?
What is wrong with this picture?
Something is disjointed.
Am I wrong?

Delsa on May 4, 2012 at 11:18 AM

I agree with DarkCurrent as to this outcome being predictable.
I just don’t think the picture is clear at all as to the truth of this situation.

Delsa on May 4, 2012 at 11:21 AM

“It’s very hard to tell your banker that he’s wrong”

That Barack Obama quote applies pretty well here, don’t you think?

MTF on May 4, 2012 at 11:23 AM

If he is allowed to “study abroad” then he is a communist in dissidents clothing.

Delsa on May 4, 2012 at 11:18 AM

I doubt he’s a Party member, but his dissident activities weren’t against the CCP directly. He became well-known as an activist on behalf of rural people that were illegally sterilized or forced to have abortions by local officials.

DarkCurrent on May 4, 2012 at 11:25 AM

The relationship between China and the United States is interdependent.
We may owe China money but we are a huge part of their economy.
The stick China has over our head is not as large as you may think1

Delsa on May 4, 2012 at 11:27 AM

In one of the other posts on Chen the other day, I commented that I expected the Chicoms to cave on this. I’m sure that someone told them that this was making Obama look bad, and if they could just help him out on this, he would have more “flexibility” after the election. Too bad there was no open microphone.

Ordinary American on May 4, 2012 at 11:29 AM

I doubt he’s a Party member, but his dissident activities weren’t against the CCP directly. He became well-known as an activist on behalf of rural people that were illegally sterilized or forced to have abortions by local officials.

DarkCurrent on May 4, 2012 at 11:25 AM

I totally agree and understand. That is why I am VERY skeptical of this entire play.
Obama is so busy lately? Must be running for office?

Delsa on May 4, 2012 at 11:31 AM

China: We’ll let Chen, er, study abroad

Let?!? That one word says it all.

AubieJon on May 4, 2012 at 11:41 AM

We may owe China money but we are a huge part of their economy. The stick China has over our head is not as large as you may think
Delsa on May 4, 2012 at 11:27 AM

IF the government could STOP deficit spending, China would have no leverage at all.

Until and unless that happens, they have all the leverage a drug dealer has.

logis on May 4, 2012 at 11:42 AM

I totally agree and understand. That is why I am VERY skeptical of this entire play.
Obama is so busy lately? Must be running for office?

Delsa on May 4, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Or Hillary Clinton desperately doesn’t want to be defined by the Chen debacle.

MeatHeadinCA on May 4, 2012 at 11:49 AM

The relationship between China and the United States is interdependent.
We may owe China money but we are a huge part of their economy.
The stick China has over our head is not as large as you may think1

Delsa on May 4, 2012 at 11:27 AM

It is an interdependent relationship, but China relies less on the US with each passing day as its domestic market and middle class rapidly grows. Meanwhile America’s dependence on China only increases.

Besides financing a large portion of America’s ever-increasing debt, China is also a very significant $120 billion market for the US. In fact, on a per-capita basis the US actually exports more to China than China does to the US. As a fraction of total GDP the US is much less dependent on access to China’s markets than the other way around, but that access is still very important and increasingly so.

DarkCurrent on May 4, 2012 at 11:52 AM

“…the shockingly inept performance from the State Department and the Obama administration in handling the Chen matter. The State Department all but pushed Chen out of the US embassy in Beijing, reneged on a promise to accompany him to a hospital, and then blamed Chen for the miscommunication. They let themselves be pushed around by Beijing…”

It wasn’t just inept, it was utterly unprincipled.

Obama and his crew are guided by perceived political expediency, not principle. Obama will do whatever he believes serves his political advantage, and then portray the most self-serving and corrupt maneuvering as founded in deeply moral principles. Unfortunately for Obama, the mask is slipping, and the bungling and backstabbing sometimes can’t be spun to his benefit, even with the willing collaboration of the Flying Monkey Media.

Stupid and corrupt. Bad combination.

novaculus on May 4, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Strangely enough, the media only barely touches on the reason for Chen’s “dissident” status. Buried deep within the Times article is the mention that Chen protested against “abuses of China’s one-child population control policy”.

Abuses.

People, pregnant women were kidnapped from their homes, beaten, drugged, and then had their children aborted.
Most of these women were in the later months of pregnancy- as they could no long hide the fact that they were pregnant. It’s not even clear that the children were DEAD before the women were forced to give birth. I know of at least one incident where the mother war given drugs to go into labor, then her child was thrown into a bucket of water to drown. The woman took a photo with her phone and posted it to the Chinese version of Twitter before police knew what she was doing. (WARNING, graphic image at the link)


WHY is the media not covering THIS??

Book on May 4, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Gosh, the kind of immigrant America was made for…..

Don L on May 4, 2012 at 12:50 PM

I have a different take…I think China wants to take away a very negative campaign issue from Obama…I mean afterall, do you really think that China wants anyone else other than Obama at the helm of this country when the crap hits the fan globally over the next 4-5 years???…and in the process they get rid of a thorn in their side. It’s a win-win for China.

PatriotRider on May 4, 2012 at 9:33 AM

I’m not so sure this takes this issue off the table; the bad part of the event has already happened and it is transparent that this is merely a face saving maneuver.

First, Chen and his family need to be gotten out of China. This should not be a political issue until they are safe. Unless China starts dragging its feet, then it should be front-line messaging from the Republicans about how Obummer can’t even work with the Chicoms over an issue of one man and his family but is getting rolled over such a small issue that he and his administration botched in the first place. Once Chen and his family are safe, then the Republicans can point to the botched diplomacy.

So, if China drags its feet, campaign issue, once Chen here safe, campaign issue. I don’t see this as a win for Obummer at all.

Maybe the Republicans can start re-define Obama’s “Smart Power” brand as more like “Special Needs Power”

AZfederalist on May 4, 2012 at 1:09 PM

This will die down and he will never leave china and we will never hear any more about it.

douglucy on May 4, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Excellent, excellent outcome. We can hope, at any rate. Unless Chen’s only choices are North Korea and Burma, China won’t be able to keep the clamps on him. Much as I have been concerned about the Obama administration’s handling of this, I am extremely glad for Chen. The credibility of the United States is a separate issue; I’m just glad, for now, that Chen and his family will be safe.

I’ve seen more than one “China expert” speculating that the regime in Beijing is tottering, and that eruptions like the Chen situation are evidence of that. I hope they are right. Beijing’s decision to let him travel abroad was probably made because of concern about the sentiments of the Chinese people, with whom he is very popular.

Perhaps Chen will be able to go back in this lifetime, and before anyone might imagine today.

J.E. Dyer on May 4, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Why was Gietner along on the trip with Hillary to China?
Very suspicious.
How much have we the taxpayers paid?

Delsa on May 4, 2012 at 2:38 PM

China: We’ll let Chen, er, study abroad

There ya go. See how easy that problem was solved?

timberline on May 4, 2012 at 2:46 PM

It is an interdependent relationship, but China relies less on the US with each passing day as its domestic market and middle class rapidly grows. Meanwhile America’s dependence on China only increases.

Besides financing a large portion of America’s ever-increasing debt, China is also a very significant $120 billion market for the US. In fact, on a per-capita basis the US actually exports more to China than China does to the US. As a fraction of total GDP the US is much less dependent on access to China’s markets than the other way around, but that access is still very important and increasingly so.

Understood. I am referring to the FACT that we are a huge purchaser of Chinese goods, thereby making it less likely they’d )at least for now) retaliate with the stick.
They do need the United States because of the interdependent relationship we have.
Hence, Timmy Gietner was on the trip??

DarkCurrent on May 4, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Delsa on May 4, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Why was Gietner along on the trip with Hillary to China?
Very suspicious.
How much have we the taxpayers paid?

Delsa on May 4, 2012 at 2:38 PM

He was there for an economic meeting with the Chinese. Clinton went along to hold his hand.

timberline on May 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Besides financing a large portion of America’s ever-increasing debt, China is also a very significant $120 billion market for the US. In fact, on a per-capita basis the US actually exports more to China than China does to the US. As a fraction of total GDP the US is much less dependent on access to China’s markets than the other way around, but that access is still very important and increasingly so.

DarkCurrent on May 4, 2012 at 11:52 AM

They need a strong per-capita base in the United States. Not a shrinking one.

Delsa on May 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Besides financing a large portion of America’s ever-increasing debt, China is also a very significant $120 billion market for the US. In fact, on a per-capita basis the US actually exports more to China than China does to the US. As a fraction of total GDP the US is much less dependent on access to China’s markets than the other way around, but that access is still very important and increasingly so.

DarkCurrent on May 4, 2012 at 11:52 AMBesides financing a large portion of America’s ever-increasing debt, China is also a very significant $120 billion market for the US. In fact, on a per-capita basis the US actually exports more to China than China does to the US. As a fraction of total GDP the US is much less dependent on access to China’s markets than the other way around, but that access is still very important and increasingly so.

DarkCurrent on May 4, 2012 at 11:52 AM

China needs a stronger per-capita base in the United States, not a shrinking one.

Delsa on May 4, 2012 at 2:53 PM

This will die down and he will never leave china and we will never hear any more about it.

douglucy on May 4, 2012 at 1:10 PM

That depends on how much of the world’s attention stays focused on his situation.

Natan Sharansky’s release from the Soviet Union, after considerable travail including torture and imprisonment in Siberia, occurred because of ceaseless efforts, in the US and internationally, by his wife and a group of outraged citizens, who ultimately enlisted President Reagan in their cause.

He remained prominently involved in Jewish refusenik activities until his arrest in 1977. In 1978, Sharansky was convicted of treason and spying on behalf of the United States, and was sentenced to thirteen years imprisonment in a Siberian forced labor camp. For the first 16 months of his sentennce he was held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, frequently in solitary confinement and in a special “torture cell,” before being transferred to a notorious prison camp in the Siberian gulag.

A campaign for his release was waged tirelessly by his wife, Avital, who emigrated to Israel immediately following their wedding with the hope that her husband would follow shortly. Intense diplomatic efforts and public outcries for his release were unsuccessful until 1986, when Sharansky was released as part of an East-West prisoner exchange. Sharansky became the first political prisoner ever released by Mikhail Gorbachev due to intense political pressure from Ronald Reagan and the United States.

Keeping up the pressure was crucial: Sharansky’s ordeal lasted 9 years, but his support group never let up, and became increasingly larger.

His biography, Fear No Evil, is a case study in dealing with repressive regimes. Although the core of the book is serious, and nearly tragic, he relates some hilariously funny anecdotes illustrating not so much the banality of evil as its fundamental stupidity.

AesopFan on May 4, 2012 at 3:21 PM

China is being very Flexible….

Wonder why?

No elections are scheduled any time soon.

UnrepentantCurmudgeon on May 6, 2012 at 5:58 AM