News

    US Looking to Meet Again With Chinese Dissident Chen

    In this photo released by the US Embassy Beijing Press Office, blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng makes a phone call as he is accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke in a car on the way to a hospital in Beijing, May 2, 2012.
    In this photo released by the US Embassy Beijing Press Office, blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng makes a phone call as he is accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke in a car on the way to a hospital in Beijing, May 2, 2012.

    U.S. officials say they are trying to meet again with Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, who left the U.S. embassy in Beijing Wednesday and is now requesting a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Confusion over Chen's case comes as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in China for security and economic talks.

    Deputy State Department spokesman Mark Toner says U.S. officials spoke with Chen twice on the telephone Thursday and met in person with his wife but are still seeking another face-to-face meeting with the blind activist.

    "Again, I don't have any further information except that it's our desire to meet with him in the days going forward," said Toner.

    A senior State Department official says there are "some indications" that U.S. officials will be able to see Chen on Friday.

    Chen left the U.S. embassy Wednesday with a deal allowing for the relocation of his family and his ability to study law at a university in China.  But that began to unravel within hours.

    Chen told foreign journalists in phone conversations that he now wants asylum in the United States for himself and his family because he no longer believes his rights and safety can be assured in China.

    Toner says it is unclear why Chen has had this change of heart.

    "I can just say that we are engaged with him going forward and trying to work out where he is in his own mind," he said.

    Chen, who is self-taught in law, spent four years in prison after exposing forced abortions and sterilizations by Chinese family planning authorities.  He'd been confined to his home following his release from jail in September 2010.

    The drama of his escape from house arrest, his secret arrival at the U.S. embassy, and the deal allowing for his departure on top of this new request for asylum has overshadowed talks between Chinese and U.S. officials including Secretary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

    Toner says it shows the strength of relations between the United States and China to be able to deal with what he calls "these very difficult issues over the last few days" while maintaining focus on global concerns including Syria, Sudan, North Korea, and Iran.

    "We have a relationship with China that is extremely broad, extremely cross-cutting," he said. "The secretary and the president have all said how important this relationship is strategically whether it be Iran, whether it be working on other issues of vital importance in the international arena.  And we are going to continue to pursue those."

    As the strategic and economic dialogue moves forward, Toner says the United States will not shy away from raising human rights issues in China.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: sblazer
    May 04, 2012 7:48 PM
    I agree! If the U.S. sacrificed him, I'm embarrassed!! The U.S. is supposed to be the safe haven for the politically oppressed!

    by: Paulo
    May 03, 2012 3:44 PM
    I hope and pray that the Obama Administration did not sacrifice this freedom loving man and his family for a gesture for the Communist Chinese. Like Hilliary Clinton well stated, economics is more important that human rights and freedom. Obama will loose my vote in November if it comes to show that he lied again to the world.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    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 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 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.