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Politics & Law

US Ambassador Locke earns Beijing’s ire, rights activists’ kudos


As a former US commerce secretary and governor of Washington state, Gary Locke wasn’t considered much of a heavyweight on human rights when he became the first Chinese-American ambassador to Beijing last year. Trade and maintaining smooth relations between Washington and its biggest foreign creditor were seen as dominating his agenda.

Yet, nine months on, Locke’s key role in the recent drama over blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng has put him on the front lines of US concerns about China’s embattled dissident community. Chen’s sudden escape from house arrest and a US decision to give him sanctuary in the US embassy gave Locke his first crisis as ambassador, made him a target of criticism from Beijing and earned him respect from the human rights lobby.

“He is setting a new precedent for future US ambassadors” on human rights, said Bob Fu of the Texas-based rights group ChinaAid, who has been in close contact with Chen and the Obama administration over the case.

After travelling to Beijing with the help of rights advocates, Chen contacted the embassy, and Locke sent a car to pick him up. During Chen’s anxious six days inside, Locke said he spent up to five hours a day with him, trying to reassure him. After Chen initially decided to remain in China and be reunited with his family at a Beijing hospital, Locke accompanied him and was photographed holding his hand as they entered the hospital.

“We spent a lot of time determining what it is that he wanted,” Locke told reporters last week.

Though the decision to remain in China was Chen’s – and he then reversed it himself – Locke has come under intense pressure over the 40-year-old’s fate, with some calling him foolish or too trusting for accepting Chinese assurances that Chen would be safe remaining in China.

Rights groups accused Locke and the Obama administration of betraying Chen. US Congressman Frank Wolf, a fierce Beijing critic, told a congressional hearing that the US government’s handling of the case was “naive”, while Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called letting Chen leave a “dark day for freedom”. Locke strongly defended the embassy’s actions and said they had been looking at what would be needed to accommodate Chen for a long-term stay.

China’s state-controlled media launched a co-ordinated broadside on Friday. The Beijing Daily attacked Locke by name for “boldly and recklessly taking Chen into the embassy in a non-normal way.”

“What we have seen in him is not a prudent ambassador to China but a typical American politician who actively stirs up swirls of conflicts,” the newspaper said.

Despite initial doubts in the human rights community, Fu said Locke has won credibility by meeting with dissidents and leaders of Christian congregations that worship outside the direct control of the ruling Communist Party.

Associated Press
South China Morning Post
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About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee

Discussion

2 thoughts on “US Ambassador Locke earns Beijing’s ire, rights activists’ kudos

  1. Good Luck to him …

    Like

    Posted by viveka | May 10, 2012, 2:34 am

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  1. Pingback: Beijing cancels visa of former US ambassador Jon Huntsman « China Daily Mail - October 18, 2012

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