After his happy reunion with relatives at a hospital in Beijing, Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng’s future remains uncertain.
The blind dissident initially opted to stay in his homeland, after emerging from the American embassy. Now however he wants to take his family to the United States, convinced his safety can’t be assured under a deal between the US and China.
Chinese authorities are still seething about Washington’s involvement, which a foreign ministry spokesman described as “interference” and “totally unacceptable.”
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to China is being overshadowed by the affair.
The US rejects any suggestions Chen was pressured to leave its embassy where he took shelter for six days after fleeing house arrest.
Human rights, it stresses, are on the agenda.
As talks got underway, Clinton said: “As part of our dialogue, the United States raises the importance of human rights and fundamental freedoms because we believe that all governments do have to answer our citizens’ aspirations for dignity and the rule of law and that no nation can or should deny those rights.”
Washington hoped its deal with Beijing over Chen would defuse the crisis. His change of mind throws not only his own future into doubt, but also raises questions about the wider US-China relationship.