Aide to Democratic congressman fired after attempting to gather information for Chinese Embassy worker whose visa was canceled by Trump Admin
The Daily Caller has reviewed documents obtained by the conservative activist group Judicial Watch via a Freedom of Information Act request sent to the State Department on May 16
These documents, which were provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation by the whistleblower, show that in 2014 the Obama State Department decided to re-issue the visa of Chen Guangcheng who had been convicted of violating terms of his tourist visa.
Chen was not a U.S. citizen at the time but was visiting the country as a tourist on temporary business.
The State Department’s decision to re-issue Chen’s visa to him without the approval of the White House was made only a few days after President Obama announced his intention to step up U.S. sanctions on China for human rights abuses.
The documents show that only days before the State Department re-issued Chen’s visa, Obama’s top advisor on China, Denis McDonough met with the Chinese consul general in San Francisco about Chen, who had been seeking asylum in the United States.
McDonough’s mission, according to the documents, was to pressure China to remove Chen’s name from the list of Chinese citizens who had been previously convicted of violating terms of their tourist visas.
In the wake of Obama’s announcement, McDonough met with other Democratic senators, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) in the White House and sought their help in re-issuing Chen’s visa.
The documents released to Judicial Watch show at least four members of the diplomatic community – including Chen’s Chinese employer – lobbied Obama and McDonough on Chen’s behalf.
This, in turn, was done with the support of Sen. Van Hollen who, in a May 9 hearing held by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee to highlight human rights abuses in China, said, “we are having these conversations with our Chinese counterparts and there’s a lot there that we can do to make it less fraught.”
According to the documents revealed by Judicial Watch, one day after McDonough’s visit to the consulate,