Though Hillary Clinton touts her support for human rights, the blind Chinese dissident, Chen Guangcheng, has accused Clinton’s State Department of pressuring him to make bad deals with the repressive Chinese government.
As Politico notes, Chen made international headlines in 2012 when he escaped house arrest and somehow sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. But in his new memoir, he reportedly “writes about feeling extreme pressure from Clinton aides to quickly accept a deal with the Chinese — one that he feared would expose him and his family to more abuse.” He reportedly “undercuts Clinton’s assertion in her recent memoir that U.S. officials ‘had done what Chen said he wanted every step of the way,'” and even “suggests that at times he felt as if U.S. diplomats had misled him.”
Chen is “a largely self-taught activist who challenged the Chinese government on forced abortions and other issues” and “had been imprisoned for several years on trumped-up charges before being placed under a lengthy and unofficial house arrest, where he was constantly harassed and abused by local officials.” He writes that he “wanted China’s top leaders to investigate his ordeal, punish those responsible for his poor treatment, and ensure that he and his relatives would be safe and free,” but U.S. officials “kept pressing him to accept the deal with the Chinese, saying he might face charges of treason if he didn’t move quickly.” According to Politico, he writes that at one point, “I no longer felt that they were on my side.”
Chen reportedly writes that he felt Clinton’s “staffers were willing to bend way too far to accommodate Chinese demands”:
For example, Chen writes that he felt pressured to go to a Chinese-run hospital to attend to his foot, which he broke as he fled his home, instead of an internationally run hospital where he would have felt safer. He was particularly incensed at Chinese demands that he have no contact with the media during his hospital stay, arguing it violated his freedom of speech. And he was appalled when U.S. officials leaned on him to agree to China’s demands that he attend a Chinese university instead of New York University’s campus in Shanghai, which had invited him to study and where he would have felt safer.
Clinton reportedly wrote in her memoir that “Chen finally agreed to go to the Chinese-controlled hospital, he ‘jumped up, full of purpose and excitement, and said, ‘Let’s go,” but Chen “describes the moment quite differently, expressing dejection and disappointment: ‘Suppressing the emotion in my voice, I said, simply, ‘Let’s go.'”
Chen’s memoir is yet another instance that calls to question Clinton’s record, especially concerning human rights. The New York Times reported earlier this month that her family’s Clinton Foundation accepted millions from repressive Middle Eastern regimes while Clinton was championing women’s rights.