Skip to comments.Blame Canada (Why did Canada and the EU abandon Chen Guangcheng? (Hint: Pandas ain't free.))
Posted on 05/17/2012 1:25:22 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Why did Canada and the EU abandon Chen Guangcheng? (Hint: Pandas ain't free.)
In December 2010, a trio of Western diplomats stationed in China -- one each from Canada, Switzerland, and the European Union -- drove from Beijing to the village of Dongshigu, eight hours away in Shandong province, hoping to visit the detained dissident Chen Guangcheng.
No one has spoken publicly about what happened next. They did not mention the excursion itself, and certainly not the rough reception they received from the hands of the guards who prevented them from seeing Chen. But one person with knowledge of the incident used the words "roughed up;" another said the diplomats had been "threatened" by "thugs." All three embassies declined to comment about what had happened in Dongshigu.
Intimidating diplomats violates the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which asserts diplomats have freedom of movement within a host country, unless there's a national security reason to deny it. It's also a breach of the informal rule against threatening a foreign country's emissaries. But the governments decided it was better to complain in private to Beijing; at least two of the governments coordinated their response to Beijing about the incident. The Chinese Communist Party, after all, bristles when foreign countries embarrass it in public by raising issues it declares "sensitive," such as its treatment of political dissidents or ethnic minorities.
U.S. President Barack Obama also went strangely silent when first asked to publicly comment on the Chen case in early May of this year, taking pains not to use the name of the blind lawyer who his government was already shielding. But at least the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, acting with the Obama administration's backing, had already decided to do something -- incurring Chinese ire by sending a car to collect Chen from
(Excerpt) Read more at foreignpolicy.com ...
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