Did Obama Hand A Dissident Back To China?

Andrew Sullivan —  May 3 2012 @ 1:18pm

That's how Jacob Heilbrunn reads the Chen Guangcheng mess:

Can anyone doubt that the blind lawyer and dissident Chen Guangcheng, who apparently says that he feels a "little" lied to by American embassy officials in Beijing, was, more or less, hustled out and dumped into a hospital before he could further disrupt Chinese-American relations, especially with high-level meetings coming up between Hillary Clinton, Timothy Geithner and their Chinese counterparts? 

Walter Russell Mead counters, in-depth:

Jerome Cohen, a well known China legal scholar (and former WRM colleague at the Council on Foreign Relations) gives a version of events that supports State Department claims that Chen left the embassy voluntarily, was not pressured by US officials, and accepted the negotiated agreement with the intention of staying in China.  Cohen, who was involved in the discussions at Chen’s request, is well respected — and not just by those who, like me, have known him and his work for many years. According to Cohen, the deal originally accepted by Chen was modeled on an arrangement made by the famous dissident Ai Weiwei which has allowed Ai to stay in the country and participate, carefully, in political and cultural life.