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The decision of US to let the blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng return into China’s fold following his escape from authorities is straining ties between the two countries as diplomatic dialogues opened in Beijing.
The 40-year old Chen who is now considered a dissident became an international human rights inspiration to many Chinese after earning the ire of the local government for exposing forced abortions in line with the country’s one-child policy. The self-taught lawyer took to the US embassy after his escape, apparently to ask for help but was eventually ushered into the Beijing Hospital.
According to a senior official’s statement to Springhill Care Group, Chen has indeed went into the embassy that day and has requested for medical treatment for his injured foot. American medical personnel have then conducted medical tests and made appropriate treatment during the time he was there.
Immediately after the incident, the Chinese government has expressed its disapproval about the entire affair, demanding an apology from the US for taking Chen in.
“What the U.S. side should do now is neither to continue misleading the public and making every excuse to shift responsibility and conceal its wrongdoing, nor to interfere in the domestic affairs of China,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin.
This incident came just when the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is visiting Beijing in a meeting with Chinese officials on security and trade talks. And although no one mentioned Chen’s name, it is evident in their statements that the incident is on the spotlight as the 2 nations struggle to maintain common ground.
Clinton said in her opening statement, “The United States believes that no state can legitimately deny the universal rights that belong to every human being – or punish those who exercise them. A China that protects the rights of all its citizens will be a stronger, more prosperous partner for the United States.”
Dai Bingguo issued a rebuttal on behalf of China, saying, “I wish to point out in particular the fundamental way to manage state-to-state relations is to abide by the basic norms of international relations, namely to respect China’s sovereignty, core interests and choice of social system.”
Meanwhile, Chinese President Hu Jintao made his point known in his opening speech during the 4th round of US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogues. He remarked that US and China should know how to respect each other despite their disagreements and also appealed to its counterpart to break the conventional belief that superpowers are bound to engage in conflicts.
“Given our different national conditions, it is impossible for both China and the United States to see eye to eye on every issue. We should properly manage the differences by improving mutual understanding so these differences will not undermine the larger interests of China-U.S. relations,” said Hu.