During a frustrating week in which the Obama administration has highlighted the death of Osama bin Laden, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has found a foreign policy opening in China.
From the Associated Press:
Campaigning in Virginia, the Republican presidential candidate said reports that American officials allowed Chen Guangcheng to leave the embassy represented a “dark day for freedom.” And a “day of shame for the Obama administration.”
Chen took refuge at the embassy after escaping house arrest. He rejected a deal that was supposed to keep him safely in China and now says he wants to leave the country. Chen has told media outlets he feels abandoned by the U.S. American officials said they had not pressured him to leave U.S. protection.
Romney says the U.S. should be a “place of freedom.” He suggested the administration abandoned Chen for political reasons.
The Wall Street Journal has the most extensive report of Romney’s remarks, including this quote:
“The reports are, if they’re accurate, that our administration willingly or unwittingly communicated to Chen an implicit threat to his family. And also probably sped up, or may have sped up, the process of his decision to leave the embassy because they wanted to move on to a series of discussions that Mr. Geithner and our secretary of state are planning on having with China.”
Chinese dissidents in the U.S. vented to the Los Angeles Times:
“The Chinese government knew the Americans were soft from the very beginning,” said Wei Jingsheng, a Chinese democracy activist who spent more than 17 years in Chinese prisons before his negotiated release to the U.S. He now lives in Washington, D.C. “They’re more concerned about economic interests than about human rights.”
Wei contended the U.S. had failed to put any real pressure on China, instead settling for a promise without any way of enforcing it. “If the U.S. government had stated from the beginning, ‘If the handling of Mr. Chen is improper, we will cancel the trade talks,’ that would be very different,” Wei said.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider