Bo Xilai And Chen Guangcheng: A New Apple Of Discord In Sino-American Dialogue – OpEd


By Kasho Natalya

Disgraced Chinese party functionary Bo Xilai and blind activist Chen Guangcheng can become a new apple of discord between China and the United States. Expert of the Institute of the Far East Yakov Berger does not rule out that American delegation is going to raise this issue at the 4th round of the China-USA strategic and economic dialogue. It will be held in Beijing on May 3-4 with the participation of Vice-Premier of the State Council Wang Tzishang and the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Yakov Berger considers the internal situation in China to be complicated. The reasons for this lie in a certain aggravation of the struggle for power on the eve of the 18th Congress of the CPC. The West is getting involved in the conflict as new facts of the Bo Xilai case are coming to light. Hillary Clinton is certainly going to take the opportunity to clarify the situation within the Chinese leadership, despite Beijing’s irritation, Yakov Berger assumes:

“The conflict in the Chinese leadership has acquired an international character. The scandal linked to Bo Xilai, who was removed from the leading positions in Chongqing and participation in the collective leadership of the party, and whose attempts to occupy higher positions were thwarted, is connected with the death of a British citizen Neil Haywood in Chongqing. Thereupon China nolens volens has to answer questions, concerning its internal affairs.”

Clinton’s visit will take place against the background of the scandal with blind Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, who has escaped from house detention and allegedly taken refuge in the US Embassy in Beijing. “Constructive relations imply a frank discussion of the issues, on which we do not consent, including human rights,” – Clinton said before departure for Beijing.

The newspaper “South China Morning Post” supposes that in the near future Chen and his family can be sent to the United States. Meanwhile, Beijing and Washington are urgently trying to settle this issue. The chief US diplomat for the Eastern Asia Kurt Campbell specially arrived in Beijing earlier than it was planned to find a solution for this problem. Washington is in a quandary. It wants to settle the problem so as not to violate the human rights protection promises and at the same time to maintain relations with Beijing.

The main themes of the dialogue are the same, as before – the Yuan rate, and trade imbalance, the expert of the Institute of the Far East Alexander Larin believes. Meanwhile, now they acquire a special significance against the background of the complicatedSino-American relations in political sphere.

“The United States pursues a policy of return to Asia that means preservation and strengthening of their positions. China, having increased its economic and military power, is boosting its presence in the adjacent offshore areas, and takes a tough stance on the issues of the disputed islands. On this ground it has problems with Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The US is trying to mediate, but it doesn’t want the islands to change their disputed status and to come under the Chinese sovereignty. This issue also unfolds rivalry between China and the United States.”
On the eve of the Sino-American dialogue an unprecedented meeting of the US Minister of Defence Leon Panetta and the heads of the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defence of the Philippines Alberto del Rosario and Voltaire Gazmin took place in Washington. The guests asked for military assistance, including the strengthening of the army. They pleaded the growing power of China and its pressure on their country in the territorial dispute over the islands in the South China Sea. And if at the meeting in Beijing the United States exert pressure on China concerning its domestic political affairs, it is not excluded, that in response Beijing will point out inadmissibility of any third-party intervention in a dispute over territories in the South China Sea.


VOR, or the Voice of Russia, was the Russian government's international radio broadcasting service from 1993 until 2014, when it was reorganised as Radio Sputnik.

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