Thursday, 3 May 2012

Fast Losing Faith

I'm now despondent over how the Chen Guangcheng incident has played out.

He is now stuck in a Beijing hospital and denied the ability to contact American diplomats to express his desire for him and his family to leave China.

Apparently he made this decision after he was reunited with them and his wife told him of how she was tied to a chair for two days and threatened to be beaten to death.

Was Chen naive to think the Chinese government would leave him alone? Or was he confused and desperate to see his family to understand what would happen once he left the US consulate?

Now he is a prisoner in the hospital which is surrounded by plain clothed and uniformed police, and the media nor US diplomats are able to go in to see him.

How did this happen? Who dropped the ball?

The US is on the defensive trying to explain they had done all they could for him and that Chen had always steadfastly said he wanted to remain in China.

As for Chinese assurances Chen would be left alone, how could the US expect Beijing to let Chen go about his business after all that he's done to shame the government not only in his work but in the last two weeks?

I'd thought that perhaps Chen's determination to stay in China would be forging a new path for dissidents -- that they could still be able to go about their work in relative freedom.

But perhaps I was naive too.

This is what frustrates and fascinates me about China -- things are constantly unpredictable and hard to read since things are so opaque.

I only hope that through US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's intervention that Chen and his family can somehow get out.

He is scared and stressed. Right now he is losing faith in the US government and that's the last thing Washington needs when it welds so much soft power.

The drama is far from over.

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