Blind Chinese activist Chen has finally flown out of China after months of protracted war of words between China and USA
The soft power prevailed over the hard power. The United States on Saturday did not just get a blind man, but also exposed the lack of vision of Chinese to tackle the problem related to human rights. When everything was going against the United States and its western allies, the concept of liberal democracy scored over the Chinese brand of Communism.
Even as the authorities continue to torment the relatives the self-taught lawyer and visually impaired Chinese activist, Chen Guangcheng, left for New York with his wife and two children. They all boarded a flight for Newark, near New York, after being taken from a Beijing hospital to the airport in capital.
Chen has been at the centre of a diplomatic crisis between China and the United States for over a month. The United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was in Beijing last month, when the crisis was at its peak and hit the international headlines. He fled from his Yinan county of Shandong province, east China, to take shelter in the US embassy in Beijing last month.
He was offered fellowship in New York University to study law. The University of Washington, Seattle, also offered a fellowship to him.
Chen left the country while his brother, sister-in-law and nephew face harassment and other serious criminal charges.
While speaking to the international media over the phone, despite heavy security at the hospital, he told journalists before his departure that his mind was flooded by thousands of thoughts and hoped that his supporters would show some understanding as he needed a respite. He said so because many of his supporters did not want him to leave the country but to carry on the struggle within.
US state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in Washington that the administration was looking forward to welcome Chen to the United States, and expressed “appreciation for the manner in which we were able to resolve this matter.”
Bob Fu, president of the United States activist group, China Aid, and a key supporter of Chen, was quoted in the BBC as saying that the dissident was planning to stay in New York for two to three years.
“Of course he wants to spend some time to rest after seven years of brutal treatments at the hands of the Chinese local authorities,” Fu further said.
The human rights activist set off extraordinary diplomatic crisis between the two countries after US officials helped him sneak into their embassy, a week before the high-level bilateral strategic and economic dialogue attended among others by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
How he managed to enter the US Embassy, monitored closely by Chinese, remained a mystery.
Incidentally, on May 2, he was brought out by the US Ambassador in Beijing, Garry Locke, an old China hand, in his limousine and then admitted to a hospital for treatment to injuries suffered while scaling a wall.
China was furious over this action of the United States and sought apology. But Chen created further rupture by openly pleading for asylum for him and his family.
The embarrassed Chinese leadership relented to his demand and allowed him to leave the country while Washington came forward to provide him and his family visas.
But back home his relatives and those monitoring the US embassy in Beijing will have to pay the price of his ‘escape’ from China and the loss of face the country had to face.