NPR : News

Filed Under:

China, U.S. Rushing To Resolve Crisis Over Blind Activist Chen

With Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner due in China for economic talks that start on Thursday, the U.S. and China are rushing to avert a diplomatic crisis over the fate of blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng.

Chen escaped from house arrest earlier this month. Amid unconfirmed reports that he has found refuge at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, "sources in touch with the State Department tell us there's a push to sort out a deal for Chen and his family before the official talks between the U.S. and China kick off," CBS News reports. "Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell is said to be involved in tense negotiations over Chen's fate."

At The Atlantic Wire this morning, there's talk of a way that things could be worked that would "give both governments a dignified way out of the mess":

"If the Americans agree to take Chen in, that removes him as a potential distraction within China and serves a gracious concession on behalf of the party ahead of the upcoming summit. It isn't the ideal situation, but given the disaster that Chen's escape could have become, it's a chance turn a failure into a positive. Plus, the Americans get to say they took a stand for human rights, while simultaneously doing the Chinese a 'favor.' "

But as NPR's Louisa Lim and CNN's Steven Jiang report today, the way Chinese authorities are clamping down further on social media is a sign of how sensitive the situation is.

According to Louisa:

"There's a long list of forbidden terms on Chinese Twitter-like services, words for which searches are banned. In recent days, the list got longer still. Freshly banned words include 'blind man' 'U.S. embassy' and 'consulate,' as well as 'Chen Guangcheng.' "

Jiang reports that:

"Outside a busy Beijing subway station Monday, CNN randomly asked more than three dozen people about Chen — only two had heard of him and his escape. One, ... a young man who declined to give his name, said: 'It was all over Weibo [China's largest microblog service] for a while before the topic was censored.' "

Jiang adds that after he posted online about a web video that implied Campbell was in China to negotiate over Chen's fate, " 'StevenCNN' — my Weibo name — has become a banned search term."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

In Iran, A Poet's 700-Year-Old Verses Still Set Hearts Aflame

The 14th century Persian poet Hafez remains venerated in Iran, even though he wrote of wine, romance and other topics not necessarily welcome in today's Islamic Republic.
NPR

Buy Crop Insurance, Double Your Money

The nation's crop insurance program is really a lottery, says one economist. And it's rigged so that farmers win. In fact, farmers typically get back double the money they pay for premiums.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - February 12, 2016

D.C. Council Member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) joins Kojo and Tom Sherwood to chat about her upcoming fight for re-election.

NPR

Do You Like Me? Swiping Leads To Spike In Online Dating For Young Adults

A study by the Pew Research Center finds the use of online dating sites has mushroomed in the past few years, particularly among 18- to 24-year-olds.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.