Actually, China's pretty happy to see Chen go

“The Chinese will be happy to get their No. 1 troublemaker out of their hair,” said Bob Fu, the president of ChinaAid, a Christian advocacy group in Texas that was instrumental in drawing attention to Mr. Chen’s cause.

Human rights advocates cite the case of Wei Jingsheng, long one of China’s most famous prisoners of conscience, who sank into relative obscurity after Beijing granted him medical parole in 1997 and sent him packing to the United States. Mr. Wei, who now struggles to support himself through private donations, government grants and speaking engagements, said he longed for those first few months after his arrival when he was honored by United States senators and traveled to Europe on all-expense-paid lecture tours.

“At first the news media pays a great deal of attention to you, but then it wanes,” he said from his home in Maryland. “You lose your leverage to expose the crimes of the Chinese government.”…

It was the prospect of just such irrelevancy that prompted Mr. Chen to reject any discussion of asylum when he arrived at the American Embassy in Beijing last week after escaping smothering house arrest in rural Shandong Province.