Chai Ling on America's Latest China Disaster
U.S. embassy staff assured Chen they would stay with him at the hospital to ensure his safety, but left him without protest after the Chinese told them "visiting hours" had ended. They also failed to get a written version of the agreement they reached with the Chinese negotiators, an elementary error that could have disastrous consequences. They should have known better, having been given the authority to represent America. How could anyone not see the necessity of a written statement? And how could they ignore the fate of the activists who helped Chen escape? Many of them have been jailed since Friday.
Now Chen's wife is reporting that the family is in grave danger. He is under surveillance and American officials have reportedly been barred from visiting him.
I do not believe that Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Gary Locke were simply naïve, that they thought China would honor its word and allow Chen to live in freedom and safety. Nor do I want to believe that they willfully misled Chen into thinking this was a possibility. Freedom for human rights activists within China is not a reality, and I can only conclude that the current administration viewed Chen Guangcheng as a distraction that needed to be dealt with quickly—he was just a fly to be swatted away before diplomatic talks began. But this "fly" they swatted is a hero to everyone in China who values freedom and admires the United States' commitment to humanity. With sadness, I can tell you that the network of activists that watched this week with baited breath is now demoralized and hopeless.
I will not mince my words: this was an unqualified disaster. It was a disaster for the Obama administration, for the America we love, and for those in China who pray for freedom. If there is any way to turn this around, we must.
I still pray. I have hope. Please join me in praying for Chen, his family, and the courageous people who brought him to the U.S. embassy. For while I am disappointed with the administration, my hope lies in the faithful and loving God:
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,
the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow.
Please join me in prayer, for I believe God will bring Chen and his friends and family to freedom. And he is patient with all of us. He gives us the chance to be modern Esthers and Mordecais, bravely confronting oppression to join in his glory. Let us not miss this opportunity again!
In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Chai Ling is the founder of All Girls Allowed, a humanitarian organization inspired by the love of Jesus to restore life, value, and dignity to girls and mothers in China and to oppose the country's one-child policy. This article is adapted from her May 3 written testimony to the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on the People's Republic of China.