Chen Guangcheng's presence in the U.S. Embassy had prompted a flurry of diplomatic activity between the United States and China. The situation has threatened to overshadow U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's scheduled meetings with senior Chinese leaders this week.
"The U.S. handling of this was interference in Chinese domestic affairs, and this is totally unacceptable to China," Liu Weimin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said in comments reported by the state-run news agency Xinhua.
"China demands that the U.S. apologize over this, thoroughly investigate this incident, punish those who are responsible, and give assurances that such incidents will not recur," Liu said.
Xinhua said Chen had spent six days at the embassy and "left of his own volition."
I'm not remembering the specifics at the moment (and hope to find a reference later or maybe one of you astute readers will find it) but I don't believe this is the first time a dissident seeking Oabama's help in being granted asylum then mysteriously changes his mind.
I'll update the post when the reference is found.
UPDATE: Ok, I've not found that reference yet (but I know it's out there as I distinctly remember reading it, just don't remember where but I did come across something that might explain the Obama administration's decision to ignore Chen's asylum request:
Chen, 40, is a self-taught lawyer who rose to fame in the late 1990s thanks to his legal advocacy for what he called victims of abusive practices, such as alleged forced abortions, by China's family-planning officials.
I strongly suspect that being anti-abortion put Mr. Chen on the outs with BHO and his minions and so the decision was likely made to let the man languish.
Mr. Chen might've had a chance had he been a strong advocate for government mandated contraception.
UPDATE II: Found it:
The office of Vice President Joe Biden overruled State and Justice Department officials in denying the political asylum request of a senior Chinese communist official last February over fears the high-level defection would upset the U.S. visit of China’s vice president, according to U.S. officials.
The defector, Wang Lijun, was turned away after 30 hours inside the U.S. Consulate Chengdu and given over to China’s Ministry of State Security, the political police and intelligence service.
Wang has not been seen since Feb. 7 and remains under investigation. His attempt to flee China set off a major power struggle within the ruling Communist Party and led to the ouster of leftist Politburo member Bo Xilai and the arrest of his wife on murder charges.
New disclosures on the handling of the failed defection come as the Obama administration is facing a new test of its relations with Beijing over another defection, the flight to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing of Chen Guangcheng, a blind human rights activist who is believed to be in hiding there.
And so, under this administration, the beacon of freedom dims considerably.