Chinese human rights activist and longtime political prisoner Chen Guangcheng has escaped from house arrest to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. The blind, self-taught attorney has been a vocal advocate of the rights of women and a strong critic of the oppression of the Chinese government. As the Secretary of State is scheduled to travel to China later this week, this turn of events poses a difficult situation for Chinese-American relations.
"The Obama administration regards the blind Chinese human rights activist as a speed bump on the Clinton-Geithner Road Show to China," says Steven Mosher, one of America's leading China experts. "They are wrong. His fate is far more important than hawking American treasury bonds. In fact, he may be the spark that starts a prairie fire."
"Chen Guangcheng and I have been fighting the same battle for years," says Mosher. "I am an eyewitness to forced abortions, coercive sterilizations and infanticide in China. Chen is the blind attorney who documented 7,000 cases of forced abortions in one small part of Shantung province, and sought justice for the women and children thus victimized."
Chen Guancheng has voiced a desire to stay in China and continue speaking out for human rights.