QUESTION: [...] So here it goes: What are the current status of the negotiations with the Chinese over the fate of Mr. Chen? How did the Chinese officials that you spoke to, the senior leadership, respond to your appeals on his behalf? Are you confident that they will allow him to leave the country to go to the States with his family so that he can study? And how do you respond to critics at home and elsewhere who say that the Administration has really bungled this? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well first, let me start by saying that from the beginning, all of our efforts with Mr. Chen have been guided by his choices and our values. And I’m pleased that today our ambassador has spoken with him again, our Embassy staff and our doctor had a chance to meet with him, and he confirms that he and his family now want to go to the United States so he can pursue his studies.
In that regard, we are also encouraged by the official statement issued today by the Chinese Government confirming that he can apply to travel abroad for this purpose. Over the course of the day, progress has been made to help him have the future that he wants, and we will be staying in touch with him as this process moves forward.
But let me also add, this is not just about well-known activists. It’s about the human rights and aspirations of more than a billion people here in China and billions more around the world. And it’s about the future of this great nation and all nations. We will continue engaging with the Chinese Government at the highest levels in putting these concerns at the heart of our diplomacy.
So I think we have been very clear and very committed to honoring both his choices and our values.