May 3rd, 2012
11:15 AM ET

Did Obama betray a Chinese hero?

Editor's note: Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist for The Miami Herald and World Politics Review. A former CNN producer/correspondent, she is the author of "The End of Revolution: A Changing World in the Age of Live Television."

By Frida Ghitis - Special to CNN

When the blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng staged his astonishing escape from house arrest, he sought American protection at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Six days later, when Chen left the embassy for a local hospital, it looked as if U.S. officials had found a solution that, as the State Department put it, "reflected his choices and our values."

One official at the U.S. Embassy said Chen was so grateful for America's help that he told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the phone, "I would like to kiss you."

But the picture is starting to change, with signs emerging that the Obama administration failed to effectively protect Chen.

Did the United States betray the Chinese human rights lawyer?

Read on here.

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Topics: China • Human Rights

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soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. George Patton

    Now I suppose that Mitt Romney and his Republican cronies are going to pounce on Obama over this affair, saying that he "betrayed" Chen Guangcheng to the Beijing government. These Republicans will stop at nothing to get themselves elected and take this country further in the wrong direction!!!

    May 3, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
    • Marine5484

      Thank you, George. How true that rings!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Reply
      • Tron HonoH

        胡溫二人算不上是有為的領袖人

        不敢動用軍事力量保衛領海

        無力保護中國漁民的利益

        準備一戰和真正開打是兩回事

        胡溫二人都沒有動武的經驗

        若是鄧小平 – 可能早就打完了

        中國領導人在捍衛領土方面軟弱無力

        難抗他國對中國海疆的侵蝕

        保衛中國領海的只能靠中國漁民

        May 8, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Maersk

      I suppose Oba Mao will keep this blind man as his personal fortune teller so that he will know whether he has a chance in winning the presidential erection.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Reply
  2. j. von hettlingen

    China has to know that it's held accountable for all atrocities committed by low-level, local thugs. Chen is scared of what these provincial brutes and gangsters on public payroll might be doing to him and his family, should he remain in China. He seemed to have confidence in Wen Jiabao and appealled to him.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Reply
  3. Lamps

    Yes, Obama betrayed him. This is shameful for Obama.

    May 4, 2012 at 2:16 am | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Your post above Lamps, will be quite pleasing to the Republicans this fall as they count on people like you to vote for them. Like George above already said, the Republicans are going to make a big deal out of this!

      May 4, 2012 at 9:15 am | Reply
  4. Marisa

    It is actually very hard to know what is going on in China, and it's been that way throughout its long history. In China, there is the party and the government, and either they are sending mixed signals on purpose or by accident. Again, it's hard to say. What is clear to me though is that the security apparatus is in control as there is a media blackout on Chen, his village is guarded, and all dissidents are having to be very careful about what they say and do. It is, in essence, a huge police state and the security apparatus does not have to follow the law but follows the dictates of the top party leaders, the CCP. Yes, of course, there are disagreements even there, and wouldn't it be wonderful to know how they make decisions??? Anyway, China is kept as a blackbox on purpose and its citizens are also kept in the dark about such sensitive matters. It's a horrible place for anyone who really wants to know the truth about important events like this.

    May 4, 2012 at 7:41 am | Reply
  5. Pete

    This has been going on for years,Ai Weiwei had his house and art studio demolished ahead of the date the Chinese government quoted in 2011.He's been an activist against the same things Chen had voiced and also was under house arrest until just before the demolishion occured.So this is a negetively charged subject,something that always happened many times before and just occured since the political uprising in Tiananmen Square in 1989,where the young protestor bravely dies at the hands of a Chinese tank..So this will go on until something of historic and humanitarian proportions hits that country,bringing this country to its knees.Showing its citizens there is life outside of the Great Wall...This is just another dirty play taken out of the republicans play book,we know there's more of this is coming,so don't be surprised,I'm not....

    May 7, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Reply

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