Invisible man casts shadow over US-China talks


Invisible man casts shadow over US-China talks

By MATTHEW LEE

Associated Press

May 1, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — The blind Chinese lawyer at the center of a diplomatic storm between Washington and Beijing is a taboo topic in each capital. Neither side wants the biggest human-rights issue between the two since Tiananmen Square to disrupt high-level strategic and economic talks set to begin Thursday.

President Barack Obama’s administration and China’s officials have signaled that the global economy, North Korea, Iran and Sudan — issues in which millions of lives are at stake — have become far more important in U.S.-Chinese relations. Thus, both refuse to admit anything is amiss as a high-profile dissident is believed to be sheltering with U.S. diplomats in China.

To listen to officials in both countries, Chen Guangcheng is an invisible man.

Obama himself refused to address the issue Monday, declining to confirm that the blind lawyer is under U.S. protection in China or that American diplomats are attempting to negotiate an agreement for him to receive asylum.

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