Karela Fry

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Sugar-coating bitter medicine?

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The story of Chen Guangcheng just got a bit more muddy. A press release from the US department of state in the name of Hillary Clinton reads:

I am pleased that we were able to facilitate Chen Guangcheng’s stay and departure from the U.S. Embassy in a way that reflected his choices and our values. I was glad to have the chance to speak with him today and to congratulate him on being reunited with his wife and children.

Mr. Chen has a number of understandings with the Chinese government about his future, including the opportunity to pursue higher education in a safe environment. Making these commitments a reality is the next crucial task. The United States Government and the American people are committed to remaining engaged with Mr. Chen and his family in the days, weeks, and years ahead.

This is contradicted by several stories in the press, for example, this report from the Guardian:

Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has pleaded for help to let him leave the country with his family, with a US-brokered deal for his future unravelling within hours of him leaving the Beijing embassy where he had taken shelter.

Chen said he never asked to leave China in his six days at the mission, which followed his incredible escape from a brutal 19-month regime of illegal house arrest. But he said he only left the embassy because US officials told him Chinese authorities would send his wife and children back to their home province – where they have been watched around the clock and harassed by a team of 100 guards – if he remained inside. He added that, at one point, an American official told him his wife would have been beaten to death – a claim denied by the US.

“I think we’d like to rest in a place outside of China,” Chen told Associated Press, in an interview from a hospital room in the capital. “Help my family and me leave safely.”

May 3, 2012

The bitter medicine cured the problem it was meant to. Xinhya reports a bland start to the China-US dialogue:

The fourth China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue is under way in Beijing. Chinese President Hu Jintao has addressed the opening of the talks, making a key note speech, in which he said both countries need to strengthen cooperation based on mutual trust and mutual respect.

Representatives at the high level talks are hoping to find common ground, amid increasing disputes between China and US.

In his opening speech, President Hu Jintao stressed that while China and US might not agree on all issues, they must respect each other’s core interests.

President Hu said, “Co-operation between China and the US will bring opportunities to both countries and to the world. Confrontation will only bring harm. No matter how the world has changed, or how much both countries have changed domestically, both of us should continue our cooperative partnership, and strive to develop our international relationship, in order to put Chinese and American people at ease and maintain world peace.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed the sentiment of President Hu’s speech.

She referred to the increasing co-dependance between China and the US, with the US having a strong interest in China’s continued economic growth.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

May 2, 2012 at 7:36 pm

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