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Updated on May 4, 2012

Couldn't the country unite on the Chen case?

The confusion about the Chinese dissident and activists, Chen Guangcheng, has been horrendous, as the United States embassy in Beijing has had him there for six days, since his bold but mysterious escape.

He and his family were under house arrest, and they were on strict watch that would make it impossible for any attempt by any member of the family to flee their home.

However, he Chen was able to do so; but there were mix-up after mix-up all that time, as he spoke with the embassy officials, and saying that he was in U.S. diplomatic hands, but he still wanted to stay in China.

In that same instance, his wife and the rest of the family were being harassed and even tortured, and he was afraid that they would be killed, because the situation was unsafe for them.

Chen's cause to draw attention to the abortion and sterilization policies of China has been supported by the United States, and for him to have sought shelter at the embassy was not unusual.

Yet, he was not a "prisoner" there, and he could decide on whether he wanted to have seek political asylum or to think about the safety of his family and remain with them. The embassy officials could not tell him what to do, as he has not officially defected; and the only thing they could do was to give him medical help.

Somehow, he left the safe haven of the U.S. embassy and into the hands of the Chinese authorities again by admitting himself into a local hospital, and it was from there that he was making the accusation that he has been let down by the U.S.; and thus creating an international firestorm with him at the center of it.

The Obama administration was doing all it could to provide him with the assistance he needed and to give him advice; and that was the farthest the assistance could go, as nobody could force Chen to make any decision he chose.

Just this morning his story has changed again, that Chen could apply to study abroad, "The statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry may offer a solution to the diplomatic crisis over blind activist Chen Guangcheng." (CNN, 05/04/12).

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who were in China for important economic talks have been interrupted by the Chen case; and now he, Chen, was asking for a seat on Secretary Clinton's plane back to the U.S.

The controversy has spilled into the American presidential election politics, with Obama's likely opponent, Mitt Romney, taking advantage and making derogatory remarks on the situation.

“If the reports are true, this is a dark day for freedom and it’s a day of shame for the Obama administration,” Romney said Thursday at a campaign event in Portsmouth, Va.

Even the U.S. Congress has been affected, with Rep. Chris Smith convening a special congressional hearing on the matter.

However, the Chen case intensified the conclusion that, the Republicans would use anything to thwart the Obama campaign, by making undesirable comments to confuse the American public even more; when the alternative should be for them to support the administration's effort to free Chen and his family.

That was what many people expected a constructive opposition to do; yet, they, Republicans, would rather choose to divide the country, by using words like, "weakness" and "indecision" on the part of the Obama administration in the Chan case; instead of seeking unity to resolve an international issue that has come from nowhere. They would want to turn another man's plight into a football match.


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