Chinese Crisis Over After big US Bungling.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explained it best Friday when she said the Administration was deeply embarrassed the way the diplomatic corps had handled the Chen Guangeheng mess. It required expert professional handling and what was coming out of the US Embassy in Beijing was rank amateurism, before Mrs. Clinton was able to say on Friday that some progress had been made "to help him (Chen) have the future he wants." Because the Chinese government consistently feels any matter dealing with its citizens is no bodies business but their own, the United States or any other nation has to tread lightly when one of China's citizens seeks help. The compromise, that Chen be allowed to resume his studies outside China, just as "more than 300 Thousand Chinese students do," seems to be a sincere offering by the Beijing Government. New York University, certainly in touch with the State Department, offered a fellowship for Chen to come to the United States and finish his studies. His immediate family may come with him so he won't have to fear they were being punished back home. Truly a compromise, avoiding any possibility of torture and nullifying his need to seek political asylum. But it was an unnecessary bungling of events before top representatives of both countries were able to come to the rescue. First the Embassy talked Chen out of the safety of the US grounds, promising they'd follow him to a hospital which would service a foot injury. The blind dissident panicked when he got to the hospital and found no Americans there. The Embassy in its hast to clear the air for 2-days of diplomatic talks with the Chinese by Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timonthy Geithner, shoved Chen off to the hospital without first getting satisfactory assurances he would be properly treated. It's understandable how frightened he was when he got to the hospital and found no Americans there. This is a man who claims he was held prisoner in his own home for 19 months and now his wife was telling him via cellphone, that seven Chinese police had taken over their house with an electric wire fence installed in the yard. It's highly doubtful anything but the Chen problem ever took center stage during the 2-days of diplomatic Geithner-Clinton talks with the Chinese. Not since the 1989 Tiananmen Square freedom demonstrations were US-Chinese relations in such a crisis mode. All seems to be O.K. now with Mrs. Clinton telling President Hu Jintao at the Great Hall of the People, "We believe that the China-US relationship is stronger than it's ever been." As cordialities were exchanged before cameras, no mention whatsoever was made about the past few crazy days.