Payne: Chen and Elian

Posted by hpayne on May 2, 2012

Forget Monica Lewinsky. The biggest scandal of the Clinton presidency was its throwing young Elian Gonzalez back into Castro’s shark tank after his mother had sacrificed her life to get him to freedom. Now another Democratic president, President Obama, seems determined to betray a Communist dissident to realpolitik.

What is it with Democrats sacrificing civil liberties to communist thugs?

“The blind Chinese dissident who boldly fled house arrest and placed himself under the wing of U.S. diplomats balked Wednesday at a deal delicately worked out between the two countries to let him live freely in China, saying he now fears for his family’s safety unless they are all spirited abroad,” reports AP.

How is this possible? Did the Obama administration really take the word of one of the world’s most notoriously brutal regimes and turn over a dissident hero – a BLIND dissident hero – who had taken refuge in a U.S. Embassy because he actually believed America stands for the principle of freedom?

Barack Obama’s troubling silence when asked about Chen’s situation Tuesday now speaks volumes. “America’s first black president” is apparently unaware of the symbolic power that moniker carries. Why didn’t he demand that Chen’s family be reunited with him? Why didn’t he hold a news conference highlighting Chen and his cause – the forced sterilizations of women as a result of China’s one-child policy? Now THAT is a War on Women.

Like Clinton before him, hoever, Obama appears naïve about dictatorships – and more than willing to sacrifice civil liberties for diplomatic face.

After six days holed up in the U.S. Embassy, the U.S. released Chen today - spinning hard that a deal guaranteed his safety and a new academic life. We’re not making this up. The Obama Administration actually believed them – the same fascist government that has beaten Chen for years under house arrest and even followed a CNN cameraman and tried to wrestle his camera away when he visited Chen’s town. Hillary Clinton’s State Department spun reporters that she spoke with an enthusiastic Chen after his release back into Chinese hell.

“After saying in Chinese how grateful he was that she had mentioned him in the past and supported his case, he said in broken English, ‘I want to kiss you,’” a senior U.S. official said.

The story started to fall apart within hours as a shaken Chen told AP from his hospital room (yes, to treat injuries received escaping from the very thugs Clinton had just handed Chen back to) that Chinese authorities threatened to beat his wife to death if he did not leave the U.S. embassy.

“I think we’d like to rest in a place outside of China,” Chen told the AP, appealing for his freedom. “Help my family and me leave safely.”

Clearly, the U.S. had mishandled – or worse betrayed – Chen, concocting a cover story to get him out of the embassy. Why? Because – strategic and economic meetings (were to) start Thursday between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and their Chinese counterparts,” says AP. “I’m guessing US officials were eager to get rid of him,” one Chinese expert told The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin.

Don’t want to let human rights get in the way of government relations. Human rights groups (don’t “liberal” Democrats talk to these people?) are enraged. “I’m somewhat surprised by the U.S. government’s willingness to accept the Chinese government’s assurances or even to get Hillary Clinton to work for Chen’s safety in the long term,” said Nicholas Bequelin, senior Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch. Then again, should Mr. Bequelin be surprised after the Elian debacle?

I recently had the privilege of meeting Dayanna Delgado, a young Cuban doctor who had bravely escaped Castro’s tentacles for American freedom. I asked her about Elian Gonzalez – who the Clinton Administration had ripped from American relatives in a 2000 nighttime raid to send back to Castro (despite reports that Elian’s father, like Chen’s family, had been threatened unless he asked for his son’s return).

Delgado told me Elian lived life in a public cage in Cuba. His family had been given a nice house. The government knew his every move. He was both Castro’s prisoner and propaganda prize for Castro. Which is why his mother took him to the U.S. Democrats haven’t learned a thing.

 

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