The Obama Administration and the Disturbing Case of Chen Guangcheng

I’m a huge fan of LifeNews.com, the superb pro-life e-publication by Steve Ertelt and crew. They are thoroughly excellent at what they do. And what the typically do, of course, is news relating to abortion. The last few days of last week were no exception, but it’s fascinating to see the attention they were giving to the case of Chinese dissident, Chen Guangcheng, a dedicated opponent of China’s one-child policy of forced abortion, who’s seeking political asylum in the United States.

In short, LifeNews gets it. They understand that this was (and remains) a big deal, even as much of our media didn’t pay much attention to this story.

As a reflection of the importance LifeNews paid to the Chen case, here’s a cut and paste of the LifeNews email alerts from May 2 and 3:

May 2:

Top Stories

• Chen Guangcheng: Obama Admin Abandoned Me, Wants to Leave China
• China Threatened to Kill Chen Guangcheng’s Wife to Secure Deal
• Congress to Hold Hearing on Chen Guangchang, Obama Admin Defensive
• Boehner to Obama Admin: Stand Up for Oppressed, Not Oppressor

More Pro-Life News

• Rescuer of Chen Guangcheng Still Missing in China
• Chen Guangcheng Prevented From Meeting Family, Congressman
• Pro-Abortion Groups Silent on Forced Abortions, Chen Guangcheng

May 3:

Top Stories

• Chen Guangcheng Phones Congress During Emergency Hearing
• Chen Guangcheng Begs Obama Admin to Help Him Escape China
• Congressman Prevented From Visiting China, Talking to Chen
• Chen Guangcheng’s Wife Tied Up for Two Days, Nearly Killed

More Pro-Life News

• Friend of Chen Guangcheng: Hillary Clinton Can Save Him
• Transcript of Phone Call: Lawyer Tells Chen to Flee China

That says it all, doesn’t it? And the sub-theme is unmistakable: The Obama administration was once again disappointing us on a fundamental matter of human life.

Among these, the most telling story is the one on Chen begging the Obama administration for help. Chen was released from the U.S. embassy only to discover that his family had been threatened and his life is in potential danger. He was seeking help from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who just happens to be in China for economic talks. “My fervent hope,” said Chen, dramatically, “is that it would be possible for me and my family to leave for the U.S. on Hillary Clinton’s plane.”

Chen also stated that he believes the Obama administration did not provide him with all of the information he needed. On that, the Daily Beast reported:

When U.S. officials escorted him out of the U.S. embassy shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday, Chen thought he’d extracted a promise that at least one of them would stay with him at the hospital, … where he’s being treated for broken bones in one foot, an injury sustained when he fell after climbing a wall during his daring escape from house arrest late last month. “But when I was brought to the hospital room,” [said Chen], “they all left. I don’t know where they went.”

The hours ticked by, and Chen became more and more agitated. Even though he’d originally told friends and embassy officials that he wished to remain in China, now he wanted to leave. “I hope to seek medical treatment in the U.S. with my family, and then I want to rest,” he said. “As for the future, we’ll deal with that in the future.”

As dinnertime came and went, he and his wife and two young children, who had traveled to Beijing, had nothing to eat. Their 6-year-old daughter began crying from the hunger pangs. “I kept asking the hospital personnel for some food, but it never came. I asked many times.” Finally, around 9 p.m., some food was sent in after friends contacted American officials for help. But Chen says his numerous attempts to reach the U.S. embassy directly during those dark hours failed: “I tried to phone the embassy three or four times last night, but nobody answered.” As of Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Beijing time, he said he has had no contact with American officials since after he entered his hospital room.

At the embassy, Chen said he came under tremendous pressure from American officials—“not those from the embassy but others “—to leave the diplomatic facility as quickly as possible. From the very beginning, he said, the assumption was that he would stay in China. “I had no information, I got no phone calls from friends, I was isolated…. Then I heard about the threat that my wife would be sent back home to Shandong if I didn’t leave the embassy. So I left.”

This is just a sample of some high diplomatic drama, most of which our press has been  ignoring. That’s a mistake. This is major human-rights issue, a global one of huge symbolic importance. It’s about both Chen and the horrific one-child policy that he uniquely protests.

The United States and China came to an agreement where Chen can come to New York University as a visiting scholar, but Chen remains worried that his family may be tortured.

It’s not a good situation—for anyone. Certainly, it’s a bad situation for Chen, but it’s also pretty ugly for the Obama administration. This is an administration that has been loathsome on life issues. If the Obama team can’t get this one right, it invites a whole new host of much-earned criticism on the most fundamental of human freedoms: the right to life.

The pro-life community, from Chinese dissidents to us here in America, is watching closely.

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4 thoughts on “The Obama Administration and the Disturbing Case of Chen Guangcheng

  1. [...] President Obama & the Disturbing Case of Chen Guangcheng – Paul Kengor, Catholic Vote [...]

  2. Tito Edwards says:

    Paul,

    Excellent analysis of the situation!

    JMJ

    Tito

  3. tz1 says:

    Reads like the Terri Schiavo timeline, but she died – unlike Clinton (Bill) and Elizn Gonzales, there was no team sent to rescue.

  4. Judy Watson says:

    Are you getting this story to Meghan Kelly at Fox? She is good with these kinds of stories.

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