OTR Interviews

Has America's reputation as a beacon of freedom suffered in US handling of the Chinese blind dissident's ordeal?

How the US has sold out its reputation in the debacle with China over a blind dissident


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 4, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Fox's political analyst, Kirsten Powers, also tracking the constantly changing dealings between the United States and China. Kirsten joins us. Kirsten, your thoughts on this continuing tension and dispute?

KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST, "THE DAILY BEAST": Well, I think so much depends on what happens next. Do we see China renege on the deal as they did on the previous deal, assuming what we were told about that deal was even true? Or do they -- or did they actually allow him to apply for asylum and is it processed and he is able to leave? But it is not just him, as you were discussing. It's also his family and other people who aided his escape who were put under house arrest afterwards, one has been released, but who are going to remain in danger.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, if the United States leaves -- I think it's symbolic that the secretary of treasury and secretary of state was there, those are big things. If they are wheels up and they have left him behind under the idea that this is some sorts of deal that he can apply to leave and t they don't let him leave, have we hung him out to die a bit?

POWERS: Yes. I think it's terrible. What should have been negotiated is that he has a family and the people who assisted him. It was a few people who were able to leave if they wanted to leave. The question is, of course, he does want to be able to go back to China.

As you were saying, why do they want him? I feel the same way. He's very effective. He has given them a very hard time. He's a self-taught lawyer and has use aid law degree to challenge the government on things. They are probably happy to get rid of him. I think he probably wants to go back to continue to challenge the Chinese government.

VAN SUSTEREN: And if his family gets out, friend, relatives.

POWERS: Exactly.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why this man? As I look around the world, we were actually quite proactive in this. We got him in the car. He didn't show up at the gate. That's a big difference to me. There are other places where we don't interfere. My cause these days is Sudan and the horrible genocide there. We don't go there because we don't go into other people's countries. But why this man and not others in China or around the world?

POWERS: China is different because we do have this stronger relationship with them. You have the secretary of state meeting with them. We do have more leverage there and more relationship. But why him? He -- I understand, he's not a Christian. He is connected to Christian groups, specifically in the United States, who are very connected to the underground churches in China. And they have a real network set up. And through that, that's how he got connected. Those were the people who really helped him. So he has a lot of connections in the United States, through those connections. And it's a very, very strong relationship, the Christian community in the United States and the underground Christian community and China.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was this -- is this a stink bomb, almost the negotiations that were supposed to go on between the secretary of treasury and secretary of state and the Chinese? This was not the agenda?

POWERS: This was not on the agenda, which is why I think people feel that he was pressured by the embassy to leave and the reason people think he was pressured, they were hoping that the problem would go away and not interfere with these meetings that the secretary of state was having.

VAN SUSTEREN: But once he's in the U.S. embassy, you have laid down your cards.

POWERS: Right, exactly. I mean, look -- what is so problematic about this is that at this time United States has to stand for freedom and has to stand for human rights. And if somebody goes to the type of escape this man, this blind man goes through, this miraculous escape and gets to the U.S. embassy, that has to be a safe place.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who in his right mind would have allowed that to happen without getting his wife and children? I mean, this is what I don't understand. I think -- everyone think it's executed so well because he got out because he's blind. But who in the world didn't think this through and thought what about his mother, wife and children?

POWERS: The wife and children are under house arrest also. There is no way to get them all out. I'm sure the hope is that he would get there and they would negotiate them being reunited because that happened under the first George Bush with the Tiananmen Square leader who got to the embassy and they negotiated -- Henry Kissinger actually did it, negotiated to get the whole family together and out of the United States.

VAN SUSTEREN: Kirsten, thank you.

POWERS: Thank you.