Friday, April 18, 2014
Chen trump for US in human rights game
Global Times | May 06, 2012 19:30
By Sima Pingbang
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A car from the US embassy in Beijing arrives at Beijing Chaoyang Hospital Wednesday, where activist Chen Guangcheng was believed to get a checkup. Photo: AFP


Poker players all know that in most trick-taking games, the face cards are normally the best. However, the "2", generally the lowest in rank, can become a special trump under certain game rules. It can even turn a losing game completely upside-down, if used properly.

What I'm arguing is not about card games, but blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who has sadly become a trump in US political games.

As China continues to improve its citizens' human rights, the US has found human rights issues becoming more and more ineffective at causing any major domestic turbulence in China. This has driven the US to seek a special trump to leverage its chance in the changing game, and it has found Chen.

I and a few friends were able to visit Chen last December at his hometown, Dongshigu village in Linyi in Shandong Province.

To our surprise, Chen's reputation wasn't as far-reaching as we have learned from the Internet. Most people living there had never heard of him or his deeds, including the resourceful local taxi-drivers. This hugely imbalanced fame of Chen's between cyberspace and the reality disappointed me.

Chen was quite excited when he heard of our arrival. He questioned who was behind our visit, and, after learning that we are just a group of grass-roots observers there to look for a peaceful solution, he told us that his problem couldn't be solved by ordinary means. I remember him saying "my problem can only be solved by the UN. I only trust the UN, and it will come to save me sooner or later."

To be honest, I was quite an admirer of Chen when I first learned of his deeds as a disabled rights activist. But after hearing this attitude, I suddenly didn't know what to say.

He was pursuing rights for farmers and disadvantaged people. But later he was completely bewitched by the belief that only the US government can save him.

Moreover, according to other villagers, Chen's imprisonment a few years ago had nothing to do with his work. It was actually a pretty common local conflict.  They told me that Chen built a deep well using funds he received from a British source. But that well sucked out water from other wells in the village, which meant Chen effectively controlled the village's water.

They claimed that Chen charged high fees for the water and caused discontent from villagers, some of them then openly voiced their unhappiness and that angered Chen. So he asked his family members to attack the village committee and blocked public roads in order to vent his anger.

Chen's relationship with the locals worsened when Chen was protesting his jail term after he was released, particularly when he called people outside the village and even outside the country to cry for him.

His wife, Yuan Weijing, was more reasonable and calm. Although we were not coming to "rescue" Chen, she was more willing to talk with us. We suggested her calm Chen down, and expressed our willingness to help them negotiate with local authorities to seek a positive end to this dispute.

Although Chen himself rejected our help, I still saw hope at that time. We were told that officials want to solve Chen's issue in a positive way, but were clueless because Chen trusts only outsiders who cry for him.

A few days ago, he entered the US embassy in Beijing, but after spending six days there, he left "on his own volition," according to media report.

The US hasn't given up Chen, but they know that Chen is a special trump card. His status doesn't deserve the US expending too much effort yet his existence can serve the US' purposes well if he can be handled properly.

Chen has served its term in jail for his misbehavior. But this legally justified sentence had somehow become a reason for the US to promote him as a so-called oppressed human rights activist. The US deceived Chen into becoming a pawn in its plot against China.

The author is a blogger and grass-roots intellectual.


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