1 May

Vice President’s office behind turning away of senior Chinese defector from consulate in China

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.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was scheduled to leave Monday night for talks with the Chinese in Beijing as part of what is called the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. The Obama administration has sought to downplay Beijing’s human rights abuses as part of its foreign policy toward China.

According to officials familiar with internal discussions on the Wang case, the rejection of his asylum request may have violated the 1980 U.S. Refugee Act, a law championed by Michael H. Posner, currently assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor. United Nations human rights conventions on handling threatened refugees also may have been ignored, the officials said.

During interagency discussions over the attempted Wang defection, which played out during a tense standoff in China Feb. 6 and 7, Posner and other senior officials argued that the Chinese official should be granted asylum and helped out of China so he could appear before a federal judge in California.

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About Curt

Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 20 years.

7 Responses to Vice President’s office behind turning away of senior Chinese defector from consulate in China

  1. Ivan says: 1

    Obama should be impeached over Op Gunwalker/Fast-and-Furious.

    ReplyReply
  2. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says: 2

    That any American official turned away someone seeking freedom from an oppressive government is such a disgusting act I can only think Joe Biden should be dragged from his office, horsewhipped, stripped of his outer clothes, slathered in hot tar, doused in feathers and ridden out of town on a fence rail. Why is this not headline news?

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  3. MataHarley says: 3

    Zelsdorf Ragshaft III: That any American official turned away someone seeking freedom from an oppressive government is such a disgusting act I can only think Joe Biden should be dragged from his office, horsewhipped, stripped of his outer clothes, slathered in hot tar, doused in feathers and ridden out of town on a fence rail. Why is this not headline news?

    Probably because Chen Guangcheng isn’t asking for asylum in the US, and per his aide, is demanding to stay in China to carry on with his human rights reform campaign. Rather baffling he’d escape, head to the embassy, then want to stay in the country. Not sure what he thinks we can do… allow him to take up residence at the US Embassy there for the duration of his life? Because I don’t believe the US is in any position to demand that China review his case and their laws.

    “He was adamant that he would not apply for political asylum with any country. He certainly wants to stay in China, and demand redress for the years of illegal persecution in Shandong and continue his efforts for Chinese society,” said Guo on Monday, speaking in his first long interview since he was released from days of police questioning.

    I’d say that the US is in between a rock and hard place on this one.

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  4. Aqua says: 4

    @MataHarley:
    Hi Mata, this article was about Wang Lijun. Everything I can find says he did request asylum.

    ReplyReply
  5. SpideyTerry says: 5

    And remember, Joe Biden is the foreign policy expert in this administration.

    ReplyReply
  6. MataHarley says: 6

    doh! So it is. I was focusing Chen Guangcheng because, like Zelsdorf points out, Wang wasn’t in the news as much. There ya go…

    Mea culpa… and never mind… LOL

    Since they refused Wang, wonder what will become of Chen? The ugly politics of dancing on the thin line between human rights and not angering a major US investor/bank.

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  7. Liberal1 (objectivity) says: 7

    There’s probably more here than meets the conservative eye—especially since China is out biggest creditor. Incidentally, I have included a website the delineates our major creditors as of November 2008—which is before Obama’s inauguration (to eliminate charges that this debt if his fault).

    http://www.thetakeaway.org/2008/nov/20/us-bailout-means-loans-china-japan-uk-caribbean-and-oil-exporters/

    ReplyReply

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