The Drama of Chen Guangcheng,
The Kansas City Star
I have to admit an anticlimax feeling when the drama of Chen Guangcheng with some hyped-up twists ended so without climax.
I talked to my family in Beijing about Chen’s case. They are as puzzled over his intention as all of us. “What did he want?” “Leave the country? Go ahead.” To be sure, it is not difficult to get out of the country with the help of US Embassy in China. The Embassy has in the past quietly helped many Chinese dissidents to get out of the country without making an international drama.
Some people think he wants the highest level of attention, which he certainly got.
Meanwhile, I have doubt over what he claimed or what the media has been telling. It is extremely difficult to enter the heavily guarded US Embassy in Beijing. The fact he could sneak in without being discovered reveals the fact that he was not as powerless and helpless as he claimed, that he does have many powerful friends who are in the position to do what he wanted, that is, leaving the country.
One thing is clear: that is, he wants to come to the U.S., specifically on Hillary Clinton’s airplane, but he has not taken the legal and normal (also difficult) way as thousands of Chinese who are already here have taken, myself included. That is, applied and being admitted by an university, applied and being given visa by the US embassy in China, not an easy task.
I fully agree that China has a long way to go regarding her human rights. Yet, China is like the U.S. in that she faces many urgent issues, such as, large scaled air and water pollutions, which have caused spikes in cancer morbidity in many regions, health care, inequality, unemployment, poverty, hunger, social unrest, etc. By forcing China to clear her air and water, not only millions of Chinese people would benefit, the whole world would, too.
On the bright side, I am glad to see Chinese government put a happy ending to this drama. It is like saying, “No big deal. Go wherever you want as long as there is a country that accepts you. We don’t care.” On this, I don’t think many government can be this generous.
One step further, I feel a little bit uneasy. How will he, a 40-plus-year-old non-English speaker, make a living here in the U.S? Finding a job is even a challenge to educated and fully competent young Americans. Is he going to depend on assistance from some human rights organization or church?
For now, let us hope we have a different drama in the future.