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.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora