Invisible man dominates US-China talks

MATTHEW LEE Associated Press Published:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The blind Chinese lawyer at the center of a diplomatic storm between Washington and Beijing is a mostly taboo topic in each capital. Neither side wants the biggest human-rights issue between the two since Tiananmen Square to disrupt high-level strategic and economic talks set to begin on Thursday.

The two governments have signaled that the global economy, North Korea, Iran and Sudan -- issues in which millions of lives are at stake -- have become far more important in U.S.-Chinese relations. Thus, both refuse to admit anything is amiss as a high-profile dissident, Chen Guangcheng (chen gwahng-chung), is believed to be sheltering with U.S. diplomats in China.

Despite the silence, the handling of his case will have profound ramifications on both sides of the Pacific.