Washington - Chen Guangcheng is a blind human rights lawyer. Despite his physical handicap, his will is not handicapped. He has defended his hometown people who were persecuted. Therefore, he was persecuted by the local officials, who sent him to jail for four years. After he finished his four years of prison and returned home, he continued to defend his villagers. The activity affected the interests of the local tyrants and evil gentry and continued making him subject to persecution, including illegal surveillance, house arrest, beating and cursing and doing their utmost. This persecution is a common phenomenon in the villages in China.
The social basis of the Chinese Communist Party in the rural areas is the riffraff and the evil gentry. Conniving with their violation of law and disciplines is in the basic national policy of the Communist regime in its effort stabilize the rural order. As a typical case, Chen Guangcheng received worldwide attention.
Less than two weeks ago, with the help of friends Mr. Chen Guangcheng escaped from his house arrest by the local gentry and riffraff. Even more surprising is that he actually fled into the U.S. embassy in Beijing, resulting in big sensational news throughout the world. For more than one week now Chen Guangcheng's affair has been going back and forth repeatedly, resulting in increasing attention from public opinion around the world. This attention makes both the Chinese government and the U.S. government very embarrassed, as well as a creating a dilemma to solve.
From the point of view of U.S. government, the time and place of the affair was not good -- it began a few days before the Sino-US economic and strategic talks held in Beijing. A fugitive staying inside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing who causes a headache for the Chinese government will certainly affect the atmosphere of the talks. The news of this fugitive was so prominent, even to the point of disrupting the priority of the talks, that both parties were eager to get Chen Guangcheng out of the embassy.
The Chinese government closely observes American's words and expressions and knows that Americans are not strong enough. So in private, they followed the Americans' current of thoughts and promised conditions that were impossible to carry out. They swindled Chen out of embassy first to be a hostage in the hands of the Chinese government, and then positioned themselves on a tough stance. In the eyes of the patriotic young cynics in China, the Chinese government gained a score.
However, after he was handed over to the Communist regime Chen Guangcheng, who had a little illusion towards the Chinese government, started to realize how serious the situation was. He put forward new demands and expressed his wish to leave China in an effort to avoid persecution against his whole family. This change discounted the score that the Communists government had just gained. The patriotic young cynics also felt very humiliated.
More importantly, is that when Chen Guangcheng was handed back to China he became a hot potato for the Chinese Government. It is not feasible to continue the persecution against him. With such attention from the International community, if Chen is still persecuted under the guarantee of the U.S. government, then it inevitably will lead to serious diplomatic disputes, and will also affect Sino-US relations as well as the interests of big capital. So Chen should not be persecuted more.
But stopping the persecution against Chen Guangcheng does not work either. It would be an encouragement to the rural people to rebel, which would mean the restriction of the local riffraff and evil gentry. How could the social foundation of the Communist Party in the rural areas suppress the people then? The local parties would not agree, their representatives in the Communist leadership would not agree, and thus the Communist Party could not agree either.
For the Communist regime, neither continuing the persecution nor stopping the persecution would be good. So the Communist regime ran into a dilemma if Chen Guangcheng stays in China. Therefore, they immediately increased the pressure on Chen's family so as to force him to flee to the U.S. Is not that a good idea to toss this hot potato to the Americans?
But tossing Chen out of China does not work either. The patriotic youth cynics would not agree to it, their representatives within the Communist Party leadership would not agree, and the ongoing internal fight within the Communist Party would not agree. Whoever makes this decision would be fiercely attacked; no one is willing to be responsible. Diplomats of course want to get rid of this responsibility. After all, domestic affairs are not their responsibility. But they have no decision power.
As the internal struggle within the Communist Party reaches a white hot stage due to the Bo Xilai incident, who has the audacity to make this decision? It can only be the successors in waiting who do not have to be responsible for now. If they think that their own succession status is unshakable, then making the decision to let Chen go abroad will let them accumulate their reputation as being good in dealing with the crisis. Such will bring benefit in their future both domestically and in foreign affairs.
Chen Guangcheng moving in exile to the U.S. also has very significant impact on American politics, no less than the impact on Chinese politics. At the time, the US decision that prompted Chen to walk out of the U.S. Embassy was a shortsighted error. The US administration cared about it affects the first step of the chess which was the US-China strategic and economic talks coming up in a few days, without accounting for the political consequences of Chen remaining persecuted in China.
This effect will affect the re-election of President Obama for sure. Republican politicians have been using the Chen Guangcheng affair to set off a wave of attacks on President Obama. Even the Democratic voters also cannot tolerate that political dissidents who flee into the U.S. Embassy to be sent back to an autocratic government for persecution. For sure this will increase the difficulty for the presidential re-election. From this perspective, Chen is saving Obama's presidency by making the decision to exile in the United States.
Even so, Chen's change of heart could be tantamount to exposing a wrong decision resulting from eagerness for quick success by the US administration. The administration still will be criticized and will not be able to restore all losses. Further, things will continue to develop. If only Chen comes to exile, his wife and children and old mother will continue to be persecuted. If his wife and children and old mother come out, his relatives and those people who helped him will continue to be persecuted. This persecution will be the concession that the Communist Party makes to its social base. They must have some targets of persecution in the way of "killing the chickens to scare the monkeys". It is their political need.
The media and the Republican politicians will not miss the hot spots of these follow-ups. For more than three years now, the Chinese government has become accustomed to problematic thinking due to the Obama adminstration's policy of not caring about human rights. The Chinese regime believes that the Obama administration is a weak government. They even believe that China's economic strength has weakened the U.S. Bullying the United States for a gain in China's domestic politics has been a fashionable activity for different factions of politicians of the Chinese Communist Party.
Based on the above analysis, it can be expected that the Chen Guangcheng affair will continue to ferment. It will continue to have a profound impact on the domestic affairs in both the USA and China, as well as on bilateral relations between China and the United States. This affair will not be in the control of Chen Guangcheng, nor that of the two governments.