Sunday, 6 May 2012

Chen Guangcheng's (陈光诚) Predicament

"One of Chen's friends, however, offered a different account, telling the AP that China forced Chen to choose between going into exile alone or staying in China with his family." 

"...Fu confirmed that Chen was told that “he would have no chance of reunification with his wife and children if he didn’t [leave]. The choice presented to him was walk out — or stay inside and lose his wife and kids.”..." 
Look at that.

Consider this: his wife and children have not been accused of committing any crimes, and yet if Chen were to leave, his family would be prohibited from leaving also - which would therefore be a discretionary decision - just as somebody in the PRC government took a discretionary decision to have Chen's family brought to Beijing to come and see him in the hospital where he was being treated.

As I said previously, the importance of Chen's case is that it cuts straight to the bone: the corrosion of the "rule of law" into the rule of men, which problem is not limited only to China - as any good biography of the current U.S. Secretary of State would reveal.

Whilst it is easy to sympathize with Chen and his desire to get himself and his family and friends out of China and safely into the U.S., I think this analysis is correct:
"... it would make sense strategically for China to allow Chen to leave the country, because his departure would probably lessen his international visibility."
Chen was a thorn in the side of the PRC because he was in China and was thus able to confront the State directly; were he in the U.S., he could no longer do that.

However, my reading of the story is that Chen and his family and friends are exhausted, and the possibility for change remains dangerously uncertain; the CCP will likely still be in power until such time as the Chinese banking system begins to collapse, after which the country could very likely descend back into hell, along with the U.S. and Europe following similar collapses.

Would democratization offer any hope to the Chinese? No - I think most other critics (both Westerners and Chinese) are wrong about this: democratization would revolutionize only the tactics and habits of those seeking political power. Any democratization of China might eventually allow for the repeal of certain egregious policies (e.g. the "one-child" policy) but it would be a bad thing in that it would do next to nothing to circumscribe the more general exercise of political power outside the radius of individual rights. Were democratization to happen, then future Chinese generations would still have to suffer similar abuses to current generations under the so-called "rule of law".

Clinton's attitude ought to have been one of dogged insistence on getting Chen and his family and friends out of China - she surely could have left half of her entourage behind to get them on her plane. That's what I'd have done.

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