I wonder if I am the only China-gazer who is puzzled by this whole adventure.
A few weeks ago, the U.S. administration was carefully raising the possibility of selling weapons to Taiwan. There are reasons to think the U.S. no longer trusts the independence of Taiwan's military, and if so, then that was surely intended to be a bargaining chip to be ceded to China during the upcoming military discussions. Well, that whole set of preparations has been scuttled by Chén Guāngchéng's move.
I have the impression that Chén's gambit now leaves the US on the defensive in its military negotiations. Having been obliged to take up a pro-human rights position reminiscent of the first Cold War, it now has no capital left for other gambits. The timing of Chén's adventure couldn't have been more effective.
So I suspect his escape from house arrest and somewhat hysterical attacks on the US after leaving the embassy were engineered by some third party. His playing of US actors against each other — the Republicans against the Democrats and the Congress against the Administration — does not look like the way a powerless asylum-seeker would behave. What it looks like is manipulation, and I suspect forces much more skilled and cynical than Chén were behind it.
I wonder if those forces were not in fact Chinese.