Friday, May 4, 2012

Blind Activist Chen

Who is blind chinese activist Chen Guangchen?

Unlike peaceful civil rights advocates such as Martin Luther King, Chen's methods of protests are violent and destructive to public order and safety. 

On the more positive side, "People who know Chen say he is a Gandhi-esque figure and has a deep optimism that China will inevitably become a country ruled by law,” professor Susan L. Shirk, an expert on Chinese politics at the University of California in San Diego, told NBC News. “He is not a dissident, agitating for a change in government – he just wants China to enforce its own laws." 

There's much more than the mainstream media is willing to choose to portray Chen as a heroic champion of the poor and disabled. He is not a lone campaigner, but has many secret supporters and possibly foreign sponsors. How did Chen accomplish an incredible feat? One needs a well devised and orchestrated plan to escape house detention and make his way to the US embassy. 

Most of all Chen is against China's one-child policy. It is not difficult to associate with the fact that Chen has two children. Most Chinese who wish to have two or more children would move out of China and reside overseas. Without a successful and strict one-child policy, the world population would have more than two billion ethnic Chinese. That would sound scary to some people. 

Chen has tested the weakness of the security system and pushed the limits. China's provincial officials are rough in handling criminals and disobedient citizens. Police brutality (not unheard of in the US during the 1960s) is rampant in local jurisdictions. As a result the whole nation's name goes down with the misconduct of errant state and local officials. 

Chen does not have the credentials that would qualify as a skilled migrant to a western or developed country. He must acquire international fame (or notoriety) to get on board the ship. He has risen from obscurity to warrant getting the attention of the US Congressional Hearing.

Is Chen worth US risking ties with China. Washington has calibrated the act well by using Chen as a vehicle to embarrass China in front of the world, but at the same time playing the good guy, enough to avoid a diplomatic row, by reassuring its creditor and competitor that it meant well and treasured bilateral relations. The sensitive term of political asylum has been avoided so far. Nonetheless, US taking in Chen into embassy grounds is not in line with diplomatic decorum, international laws, amounting to an unfriendly act. 

The Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is critical of Hilary Clinton and Obama's handling of the Chen fiasco. MR reveals disrespect and ignorance of international law. He ought to reflect on sharing goodies with the poor and powerless of their own country and abide by the American constitution. before aggressively interfering in other country's affairs. 

Anyway, there is not much Chen could contribute by remaining in China. In his words, Chen hopes to seek medical treatment, rest and study in the US. NYU has offered Chen a place normally reserved for the high achievers. Hopefully, his aspirations are fulfilled and he learns more about the West (not just the idealist imsge he imagined from a distance). 

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