Okay, I get that this was a diplomatically tricky situation. But the account of Chen Guangcheng and his wife’s experience with the US Embassy is just… depressing. Excerpts from his interview with CNN:
Q: U.S. officials said you looked optimistic when you walked out of the embassy, what happened?
A: At the time I didn’t have a lot of information. I wasn’t allowed to call my friends from inside the embassy. I couldn’t keep up with news so I didn’t know a lot of things that were happening.
Q: What prompted your change of heart?
A: The embassy kept lobbying me to leave and promised to have people stay with me in the hospital. But this afternoon as soon as I checked into the hospital room, I noticed they were all gone.
Q: Has the U.S. disappointed you?
A: I’m very disappointed at the U.S. government…
Q: Is it true no one from the embassy picked up your calls?
A: Yes. I called two embassy people numerous times.
Q: What do you want to say to the U.S. government?
A: I want them to protect human rights through concrete actions. We are in danger. If you can talk to Hillary (Clinton), I hope she can help my whole family leave China.
Q: The whole world is watching you — how do you feel about this?
A: I feel very grateful. I feel they are sincere in their concern, not just for show.
Q: Do you feel you were lied to by the embassy?
A: I feel a little like that.
Q: What has this ordeal taught you?
A: I feel everyone focuses too much on their self-interest at the expense of their credibility.
Q: You’re both still up at 3 a.m. — feeling anxious?
A: Yes, we feel a lot of anxiety…. I told the embassy I would like to talk to Rep. Smith (Congressman Chris Smith) but they somehow never managed to arrange it. I feel a little puzzled…
[Yuan Weijing, Chen Guangcheng’s wife]
Q: What would you say to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?
A: I know Sino-U.S. relations encompass many issues and they have to consider many things. But the reality about my family is that our lives are in obvious danger. If we stay here or get sent back to Shandong, our lives would be at stake. Under such circumstances, I hope the U.S. government will protect us and help us leave China based on its value of protecting human rights.
Q: Are there people watching you at the hospital?
A: They have security guards here.
Q: Have the embassy people have left?
A: Yes. They promised to stay here with Guangcheng — that would give us some sense of security. But we haven’t seen anyone since we checked into this hospital room. I was actually persuading Guangcheng to seek treatment in a hospital — but I didn’t know the embassy (people) were lobbying him to leave (the embassy).