If anybody, anybody with sense, actually believes that Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng is happy to be staying in China, or that he and his family will be safe for longer than a few months, that person is, in the old terminology, a “useful idiot” for the Communist cause. The American agreement that sends Chen back from the U.S. Embassy is a craven capitulation to Chinese Communist thuggishness.
What should have been done? The United States ought to have demanded that China also provide safe haven for Chen’s family and offered asylum to all of them within the United States. The Obama administration ought to have made clear that the fate of this family is of paramount importance, and that it will continue to highlight their situation, and thus embarrass China, for as long as it takes to get them free.
As Ronald Reagan showed when dealing with the Soviets, stalwart moral pressure can work to provide avenues of freedom to prominent and honorable dissidents. Ask Yelena Bonner. Ask Natan Sharansky.
But this administration has no moral courage. This administration lets Iranian freedom fighters be slaughtered. This administration drags its feet in protecting Syrians being butchered. This administration has failed to speak up effectively for prominent dissidents in Cuba and China. This administration is an embarrassment.