Romney says U.S. should help protect missing Chinese dissident
Mitt Romney said yesterday he hopes U.S. officials will “take every measure” to ensure the safety of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng – thought to have taken refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing - and to also protect Cheng’s family and supporters from persecution. “Any serious U.S. policy toward China must confront the facts of the Chinese government’s denial of political liberties, its one-child policy, and other violations of human rights,” said Romney, the presumptive presidential nominee for the Republican Party.
Romney’s comments about Chen, a blind lawyer who escaped 19 months of house arrest in Dongshigu by outwitting his captors and scaling a wall on April 22, come at a delicate time for the Obama administration, which is about to embark on annual talks with Chinese leaders about economic progress and national security.
U.S.-China relations are brewing into “a perfect storm” as a result of the Chen case, the Bo Xilai scandal and reports that the U.S. may sell F-16s to Taiwan, Chris Johnson, a former China analyst for the CIA, told Reuters.
Experts say the two nations probably have too many mutual interests and too much invested in the talks to scuttle the parleys, but how Chen and his supporters will fare is an open question.
“Odds are sooner or later (Chen) will be escorted to the airport with assurances that he will be able to get on a plane and leave,” Kenneth Lieberthal, director of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., predicted to Reuters.