Fu hopes Chen’s departure will be a catalyst for large talks about human rights conditions in China, regardless what happens before Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner visit there Thursday and Friday for talks on global economics and topics including the violence in Sudan.
“Given Mrs. Clinton’s repeatedly telling China to release him, I’m optimistic this will help the diplomatic push,” Fu said.
He called the development a “pivotal moment” for U.S. human rights diplomacy.
“The Obama administration must stand firmly with (Chen) or risk losing credibility as a defender of freedom and the rule of law,” Fu added.“ If there is a reason why Chinese dissidents revere the U.S., it is for a moment like this."
He also said the case should be handled like that of professor Fang Lizhi.
In 1989, Lizhi, whose speeches inspired student protesters throughout the 1980s, fled with his wife to the U.S. Embassy after China's military crackdown on the pro-democracy movement. He stayed there for 13 months while the countries discussed his fate.
Chen's case comes as the U.S. is looking for help from China on many worldwide issues, such as trying to restrain North Korea and Iran on their nuclear ambitions, and push Syria to observe a cease-fire in the fighting in that country.
Fu and Chinese-based activists said Chen's his wife and 6-year-old daughter are still at the family's home.