Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese dissident who briefly took refuge in the U.S. embassy, recently expressed his hope that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would rescue him. "My fervent hope is that it would be possible for me and my family to leave for the U.S. on Hillary Clinton’s plane," Chen told the Daily Beast.
But that doesn't seem likely: Clinton, who is in China now, completely ignored Chen in her remarks as part of the so-called U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. She did not mention him once.
Clinton briefly mentioned human rights, however, but merely in a vague, passive way.
"Now of course, 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 to citizens’ aspirations for dignity and the rule of law, and that no nation can or should deny those rights," Clinton said, without bringing up specific cases where the Chinese government violated the rights of its citizens. "As President Obama said this week, a China that protects the rights of all its citizens will be a stronger and more prosperous nation, and of course, a stronger partner on behalf of our common goals."
The meetings go on, so perhaps there is hope still for Chen.
Here are Clinton's full remarks:
RemarksHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State Diaoyutai Villa 17
May 3, 2012
(In progress) – Strategic and Economic Dialogue, and I know that both Secretary Geithner and I greatly appreciate all the work done by both of our delegations and the months of preparation for this meeting. I’ve read readings from President Obama and a letter from him expressing how important the Strategic and Economic Dialogue is to the U.S.-China relationship and how important this relationship is to the United States.
As President Obama says, the United States remains committed to building a cooperative partnership based on mutual benefit and mutual respect. Since we launched this dialogue three years ago, high-ranking officials from both our governments have criss-crossed the Pacific dozens of times. Our relationship has grown closer and more consequential, and the web of connections that link our nations is increasing.
As a result, this dialogue is even more necessary today than it was when it began, and the eyes of the world are once again upon us. The Chinese people and the American people looking for us to work together for their benefit, and the international community looking to us to work together for the world’s benefit; in today’s world, no global player can afford to treat geopolitics as a zero-sum game, so we are working to build a relationship that allows both of our countries to flourish without unhealthy competition or conflict, while at the same time meeting our responsibilities to our people and to the international community.
We both know that we have to get this right because so much depends upon it. We also both know that our countries have become thoroughly, inescapably interdependent. As President Obama and I have said many times, the United States believes that a thriving China is good for America, and a thriving America is good for China. So we have a strong interest in China’s continued economic growth and if China’s rising capabilities means that we have an increasingly able and engaged partner in solving the threats we face to both regional and global security, that is all good.
Now, having said that, we understand too that building a cooperative, resilient, mutually beneficial relationship is not easy. That’s why this dialogue is so critical as well as the Strategic Security Dialogue that took place here yesterday. We are discussing how the talks are opening economic activity to advance prosperity, support innovation, and improve the lives of people, how to promote greater military transparency to avoid misunderstandings, to build trust and maintain mutual stability, how to tackle some of the world’s most urgent crises from climate change to proliferation.