News

    Clinton Urges China to Protect Human Rights

    In this photo released by the U.S. Embassy Beijing Press Office, blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng is wheeled into a hospital by U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, right, and an unidentified official at left, in Beijing Wednesday May 2, 2012.
    In this photo released by the U.S. Embassy Beijing Press Office, blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng is wheeled into a hospital by U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, right, and an unidentified official at left, in Beijing Wednesday May 2, 2012.

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged China Thursday to protect human rights, at the start of annual talks in Beijing that have been overshadowed by the case of a dissident who is seeking U.S. protection.

    "As part of our dialogue, the United States raises the importance of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Because we believe all governments have to answer to our citizens' aspirations for dignity and the rule of law and that no nation can or should deny those rights," she said.

    VOA’s Ira Mellman spoke with Jerome Cohen, a law Professor at the New York University Law School, Co Director of the US-Asia Law Institute and an Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asia Studies the council of Foreign Relations.

    Professor Cohen spoke with Chen extensively over the past week and was instrumental in drawing up an agreement between Chen and the Chinese government.

    Clinton made no specific mention of Chen Guangcheng, a blind rights activist who escaped from house arrest and sought protection for six days at the U.S. embassy in Beijing. Chen left the embassy Wednesday after the U.S. was promised by China that he would be safe and reunited with his family. But hours later he told reporters that his family had been threatened and that he would like U.S. help in leaving China.

    China has already demanded an apology from the U.S. for taking in Chen, calling it an unacceptable intereference in its domestic affairs. Chinese President Hu Jintao did not mention Chen during his opening remarks at the dialogue. But he did say that the U.S. and China "must know how to respect each other" even if they disagree on certain issues.

    U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, to whom Chen has reportedly appealed for help, told VOA that he thinks U.S. officials should boycott the talks if they do not receive a better guarantee for Chen's safety. Smith said he thinks it is possible that Chen decided to leave the embassy out of fear for his family.

    "If what he has said via the press is true - and his interviews and his personal appeals to me - if all that is true, then he should be allowed to leave as quickly as possible with his family to avoid further retaliations and further mistreatment," he said.

    U.S. expert on China Jerome Cohen, who is Chen's friend, says he is unaware of the specific nature of the threats Chen reportedly received after leaving the U.S. embassy. He told VOA the last time they talked, Chen was excited about the idea of staying in China and reuniting with his family.

    "My last talk with him was when he agreed that it sounded like an exciting idea, that was good, and would keep him in China and although he knew there were risks, he knew it would be worthwhile, and it would allow him to be reunited with the family, and it would allow him for the first time now the formal opportunity to study law and to develop cooperative relationship in China and the outside toward building a genuine legal system," he said.

    Cohen urged rights groups and social networks not to undermine U.S.-China agreement regarding Chen.

    Related video report by Scott Stearns

    State Department spokeswoman Mark Toner told reporters Wednesday that U.S. officials had received no threats from China regarding Chen and that the activist wants to pursue educational opportunities and continue his work in China.

    "This was a decision that he reached with us through our interactions with the Chinese authorities -- that he wanted to stay in China, that he wanted to pursue his studies, that he wanted to continue his work.  We tried to work with him so that he could achieve these goals.  We believe we did that.  He wanted to stay in China. He did not want to seek political asylum," he said.

    After the agreement was reached, U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke accompanied Chen to a hospital where he was given medical treatment and reunited with his family.

    U.S. Secretary of State Clinton said in a statement earlier Wednesday that she was pleased that U.S. officials were able to facilitate Chen's stay and departure from the embassy "in a way that reflected his choices and our values."  A U.S. official earlier said Chen had spoken by phone with Clinton and thanked her for supporting his case.

    Chen, under house arrest since 2010, escaped from detention on April 22 and later took shelter in the U.S. embassy, sparking a diplomatic standoff.

    China's official Xinhua news agency Wednesday reported Chen's departure from the embassy.  It said Chen had stayed at the facility for six days before leaving "of his own volition."

    Chen is a lawyer and human rights activist who has been blind since childhood. He was given a four-year prison sentence in 2006 for exposing abuses under China's forced abortion policy aimed at population control.  He had been under house arrest since 2010, before escaping on April 22.

    He posted an Internet video last week saying he, his wife, and young daughter were abused during his house arrest.  He also called on Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to investigate human rights abuses in China.

    "Chinese Dissidents Who Have Left Their Homeland"

    Fang Lizhi Fang Lizhi: The leading astrophysicist stayed at U.S. Embassy for 13 months after China's 1989 crackdown at Tiananmen Square. He left China in 1990 and died this year in the U.S.
    Wei Jingsheng Wei Jingsheng: The democracy activist flew to the U.S. in 1997 after more than 14 years in prison.
    Rebiya Kadeer Rebiya Kadeer: Convicted of endangering state security, the Uighur rights activist now lives in the U.S.
    Wu'er Kaixi Wu'er Kaixi: The student leader fled China with the help of a secret network after the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.
    Liao Yiwu Liao Yiwu: Known for "The Corpse Walker" interviews with people on the margin of Chinese society, he fled to Germany in 2011
    Yu Jie Yu Jie: Authored a book critical of Premier Wen Jiabao and left for the U.S. in 2012 after being detained repeatedly and beaten.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    
    by: kangzhuoli
    May 02, 2012 7:25 PM
    what happened?i got no news in China about it.I am 25 but never vote.it is China.

    by: Qu Qiang
    May 02, 2012 6:47 PM
    Again, before every significan talk or meeting betwwen US and China, there will always be a conflicting story happen, could it be for a topic at our conversation? ok, ENOUGH, we have got more importqwant things to discuss for our mutual benefits.

    by: janeDoe
    May 02, 2012 5:18 PM
    So sad...much like the Iranian scientist that America sold back to Iran, this poor person will be found beheaded behind the US embassy. The story reads "threats against his family were never expressed to us (US Administration Officials) by the Chinese Government..." Really? The corporate shrills running your country have just sent another poor soul to his death...all for corporate greed.

    by: Paolo
    May 02, 2012 3:32 PM
    I can not believe that the USA especially President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton sold out this poor freedom fighter and led him to his death. This is dispicable! I believe that the USA intentionally lied to this man just for a few pieces of Chinese silver! SHAME ON YOU OBAMA!

    by: Bill
    May 02, 2012 3:13 PM
    Another story too satisfy the smarmy corporate world .The US sold him out.His bones will never be found.

    by: Mike
    May 02, 2012 1:48 PM
    We all know China is run by dictators and that there are no basic civil rights for the people. We still buy their cheap products and sell them our natural gas resources. Fine. Just don't let Mr. Chen come to the U.S. We don't need another problem right now. He should stay in China and make his mark there.

    by: Rob
    May 02, 2012 11:12 AM
    the blind leading the blind. in the land of the blind the one eye'd man is king

    by: Leona Cox
    May 02, 2012 11:04 AM
    Good Luck to Chen and his Family, they have suffered enough.

    by: JohnDoe
    May 02, 2012 10:25 AM
    Just another sensational story encouraged and created by western media.
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.