Politics & Int'l Affairs

Chen Guangcheng And Jerry Cohen

Wimbledon. Win this point and you win the championship.

The ball is returned to your left. As you move to toward it, you slip, but before falling flat, you swing wildly, and hit the ball on the wood (this is an old metaphor). It grazes the top of the net, barely passing over. And, then drops to the grass before your opponent can reach it. You win.

I thought of this when I heard that the U.S. seems to have reached a deal with the Chinese government to allow Chen Guangcheng to study in the U.S. After a series of apparent errors–not to mention Mr. Chen’s own understandable equivocations–this week, with the ball still heading for the net, Team Obama may eke out a win for Mr. Chen and against the President’s political opponents. If the deal goes through, Mr. Chen will be the real winner.

Jerome Cohen

As more of the story comes out, the crucial role of Jerry Cohen, dean of Chinese legal studies in the U.S. and friend and counselor this week to Mr. Chen, is emerging. It is he who invited Mr. Chen to become a visiting scholar at NYU’s U.S.-Asia Law Institute. And, in suggesting this solution, probably deserves much credit for resolving the crisis. Read more here.

And, The New York Review of Books blog has published two posts that give perspective. First, ‘Beijing Dilemma: Is Chen Guangcheng the Next Fang Lizhi?,’ which contrasts the situation of the two. Second, ‘Debacle in Beijing’–the title says it all.

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  1. Drew writes on

    I’m glad to see that this technique is still working – I’ve heard Mr. Cohen’s talks, and he’s actually used this technique before in decades past to help out dissidents in Taiwan and I think the PRC too. I hope everything continues to turn out well for Mr. Chen!

    • Thanks, Drew!

      Fine scholar, excellent lawyer, and great man–Jerry Cohen. I join you in wishing a good outcome for Mr. Chen–a hero and an inspiration.



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