THE GUANGCHEN DEVOLUTION
Chen Guangchen’s asylum request devolved further into complication today, as Guangchen was reunited with his family outside of the U.S. embassy in Beijing. In case you have not heard of the figure-lawyer-asylee at the epicenter of the recent U.S.-China asylum debacle, Chen Guangchen is a political activist newly crowned as a symbol of the campaign for women’s rights, particularly in rural China. Adding to the charisma of this heralded storyline is Guangchen’s success in training himself in the field of law, despite being blind. For your wiki briefing, you can read Guangchen’s Wikipedia page here: [Wikipedia page on Chen Guangcheng].
Guangchen was catapulted into international renown after coordinating a class-action lawsuit against the city of Liny for excessive enforcement of the one-child policy. The same one-child policy was recently dubbed “China’s Achilles heel” by The Economist, due to the long term economic impact of China’s slackening fertility rate and projected financial and social burden of the 4-2-1 problem (one young male adult financially supporting two parents and four grandparents in retirement). You can read that article and readers’ comments here: [The Economist article on China’s Achilles heel].
The class-action lawsuit unearthed forced abortions and sterilization in the Shandong province, and earned the ire of an ever-indifferent Chinese governmental machine that shrugs the cost of human rights for industrial and economic development.
A GUANGCHENG-FREE TWITTERSCAPE
Don’t be surprised or ashamed if you are not up to speed on Guangchen or his prior legal accomplishments. The Chinese political machine maintains a tight leash on those words Chinese citizens may search, google, twitter, or otherwise. The Washington Post has allegedly acquired a version of the banned list, and has written several articles about internet searches and social media. One of those earlier articles can be found here: [Washington Post article on China banned list].
China’s Republic has added Chen Guangcheng to the banned words list. Thus, his name may not be pouring out of the famished Chinese blogosphere. Information on the subject from inside The Great Wall may be hard to come by. China’s complex filtration of dissident vocabulary stems back at least to the uprising in Tiananmen Square.
THE GREAT WALL OF TWEET REMINISCENT OF FANG LIZHI’S ESCAPE POST-TIANANMENT SQUARE
Chen Guancheng is not the only activist to fall prey to the Googlecide of the great Chinese apparatus. One of my physics professors back at The University of Arizona, recently deceased, suffered the same plight. Fang Lizhi, an asylee, recently passed away in Tucson, Arizona. You can see his University of Arizona bio page here: [University of Arizona on Fang].
Fang Lizhi’s attempts to open the post-Mao Zedong politico-economic system helped spurn the Tiananmen Square demonstrations and subsequent violent live-fire military street cleansing. Approaching socialism from a stance of study rather than love, Lizhi faced some 13 months in a hidden, book-camouflaged bunker to elude capture by the Chinese government. That may have been one of the few good turns of Henry Kissinger. Fang’s obituary can be read from The Guardian, here: [Guardian article on Fang obituary].
FROM FANG TO WANG, ESCAPE TO DISAPPEARANCE
Let’s hope Chenguang’s journey does not take the protracted twists of Wang Lijun, the Chongqing police chief who fled to a consulate last February. After about 30 hours at the U.S. embassy, the U.S. consulate denied Wang’s asylum petition and released him to the wild. Wang was quickly shuttled to Beijing by Chinese officials, and thereafter disappeared. He has not been heard from since. You can read the BBC’s account of his harrowing tale, and more about the Bo Xilai scandal, here: [BBC article on Wang Lijun].
In defense of the U.S. decision, there were allegations of Wang’s participation in torture for confessions. That’s a big no-no when it comes to granting asylum. I think there might even be some express provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act against importing that type of element. Others, however, believe that Wang could have been one of the highest-level defectors from inside China’s leadership class. Perhaps that’s like mounting a great bearded elk on the trophy wall. This would not be the first internal disagreement on asylum decision-making.
MIAMI INTERNATIONAL ATTORNEYS WAXES ALLUVIUM ON CHINESE ASYLEE STATUS
On April 5, 2012, Miami International Attorneys posted an article discussing recent U.S. immigration law asylum decisions involving Chinese citizens and the likely reaction of the Chinese government to international interference. There, MIA ruminated over China’s likely interpretation that asylum amounted to nothing more than American meddling. MIA’s previous article can be found here: [Miami International Attorneys’ article on China asylum decisions].
The article posted by Miami International Attorneys came on the heels of several immigration appeals decisions. On the heels of the recently sparking Chen Guangcheng disruption is Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
WELLESLEY GIRL HIL STEPS IN IT
According to The Daily Beast’s Melinda Liu, Chen Guangcheng wants a ride on Hil’s party train. In an alleged exclusive interview with Liu, Chen claims that U.S. officials have abandoned him at a Chinese hospital and Chen begs to leave the country on Hillary Clinton’s plane. These purported allegations beg the question of who was going to mend Chen’s broken paw after he leaped the backyard wall during his daring escape from house arrest and 650-kilometer trek to Beijing. Even fleeing high school kids have to face the music when one breaks a wrist at a kegger break-up. We are sure that Clinton had this in mind when she came to Beijing for high-level talks. The BBC reports that Clinton’s goal of cementing relations and discussing security and economy should not be dimmed by the recent immigration distractions. You can read the article here: [BBC article on Clinton in Asia].
So, let’s stay tuned. The Chen Guancheng saga has surely not drawn to a close; and no matter how many months Mr. Guancheng ends up behind a bookshelf in the U.S. embassy, American attention spans will surely expire by month’s end.