Conflict & Justice

Blind Dissident Chen Guangcheng Aggravates US-China Relations

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking at the opening of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing (Photo: U.S. State Department)

Blind Chinese dissident, Chen Guangcheng, is appealing for asylum in the United States for himself and his family.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

He has been telling different reporters different things at different times, but he's told some at least that he'd like to leave China with Hillary Clinton.

The Secretary of State is currently in Beijing with other top officials, for the annual round of key bilateral US-China talks, known as the Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

The United States has acknowledged that Chen has changed his mind, but it's not clear what will happen next.

Chen's case is clearly a potential embarrassment for the Obama administration and its relations with China.

China has already expressed anger that the United States harbored an activist. Chen was sheltered at the US embassy for six days until May 2nd, and then left as part of an informal agreement with the Chinese authorities, under which he was supposed to remain in China.

Will Inboden, former Senior Director for Strategic Planning for the National Security Council under President Bush, says the Obama administration could have done more, and could still do more.

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