I'm seldom sure what to do with this sort of thing.
I have had a personal quarrel with Amnesty International over the past ten years or so because I believe they've gotten involved in domestic American politics, and that isn't what the organization was designed for. In fact, it was designed to avoid all domestic politics in all countries, so there might be a world wide effort to focus on Human rights issues world wide.
That way, everybody in any given country could get involved in writing letters to support the human rights of somebody's human rights anywhere in the world. The last folks in charge of Amnesty International here in the United States screwed that up by getting involved in domestic politics.
That doesn't mean I might not have agreed with some of their stances about domestic politics. Often, I did. It does mean that Amnesty America had no business getting involved in domestic election politics.
Chen Guangcheng is more of a traditional Amnesty International sort of issue. The man was a prisoner of conscience whose crime appears to have been his public outrage at China's forced abortion and sterilization policy. He was apparently under house arrest under conditions you can read about below, and managed to escape. His is blind, so one might assume he has extraordinary powers of disguise, persuasion or both. He managed to take refuge in the United States embassy.
You might try the sources suggested below for more information, if you're interested.
Amnesty is always looking for folks to help out by writing a letter to the appropriate places to express views that they believe might help the situation. If you agree with their approach, you might consider that. Silence remains an option, certainly, and usually it's the most common one. We can't do everything for everybody, and most of us have to come to grips with that.
I guess, something touched me about this one, and I wanted folks to have a look and have a think and have a chance to comment on it. If I had any right answer, I'd try to indicate it more specifically than this.
Sincerely, Bob Kaven
Chen Guangcheng's future hangs in the balance.
Chinese human rights advocate Chen Guangcheng, who is blind, escaped house arrest in Shandong province last week -- but his future remains uncertain.
The U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue is underway in Beijing now. Urge leaders to respect Chen's human rights and allow him to choose his own future.
Chen, a self-taught lawyer who was imprisoned and then subjected to violence and house arrest for exposing forced abortions and sterilizations in China, made a daring, Houdini-like escape to the U.S. embassy. Following delicate negotiations with the United States, Chinese officials pledged to allow Chen to live a "normal life" with his family, and he initially agreed to return home.
Does this sound "normal" to you?
"I don't know what's happened to my mother. There are guards inside the yard, in all the rooms, even on the roof. They've set up lots of cameras in my home and are preparing electric fences. They told my family they'd take wooden sticks and beat my family to death, so it's very unsafe."
-Chen Guangcheng, in an interview with NPRi
In recent hours, Chen has expressed a desire to leave China, fearing that he and his family can never enjoy freedom under the current system.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is representing the United States in China today. Her presence can provide the pressure we need to ensure Chen's safety. The world is watching. Let Chen choose his own future.
Director, Washington Office
Amnesty International USA
His life, his choice
Since activist Chen Guangcheng made a Houdini-like escape from house arrest last week, he and his family have been threatened with violence. He deserves full human rights protections. Let Chen Guangcheng choose his own future.
© 2012 Amnesty International USA | 5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001 | 212.807.8400