China Doesn't Take John Kerry's Call
It seems the Chinese aren't interested in taking Secretary of State John Kerry's call about the nephew of dissident Chen Guangcheng, the blind activist against China's forced abortions who fled to the U.S. embassy a year ago.
Chen testified before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee last month, saying his family members were under attack from the Chinese government -- torture, harassment, beatings -- since Hillary Clinton negotiated Chen's ticket to the U.S.
His nephew Chen Kegui tried to defend himself against government thugs and was sentenced to three years in prison.
“We cannot continue to tolerate the Chinese communist authorities continuing to go back on their word and deceiving the international community at will,” Chen said at the hearing, during which he called on the Obama administration to release the agreements forged with Beijing that U.S. diplomats told him ensured no harm would come to his kin if he left China.
State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell was asked at today's press briefing whether Secretary of State John Kerry followed up on a vow to call the PRC leadership and raise the case of Chen Kegui.
VENTRELL: The secretary did reach out to his counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang yesterday. He was unable to reach him, and the secretary will follow up. So he has placed a call, and has not yet been able to connect with the foreign minister, who we understand is on travel.
QUESTION: Do you know if he attempted to reach him after you announced from the podium that he was going to call?
VENTRELL: No, we discussed in the morning that he was going to make the call during the day.
QUESTION: Right, I know. But was it -- did he try to do it after you had said that he was going to?
VENTRELL: Matt, I don't know what -- exactly what hour...
QUESTION: Just curious if you think that the Chinese foreign minister might have been ducking the phone call because he knew that he was going to get yelled at about this?
VENTRELL: I -- I don't know what time the Operations Center was putting forth the call. But, the secretary did reach out to the Chinese and will follow up.
QUESTION: Isn't it odd that you -- that he's not able to reach the Chinese foreign minister?
VENTRELL: I mean, again sometimes it's time differences, or travel, or -- but - yeah, sometimes it takes us a little while to connect with foreign leaders -- or foreign minister in this case.